Facts and Figures
|Births per year||2348|
|Rate of episiotomy (perineotomy) in natural birth||12.3%|
|cesarean section rate||28.8%|
|Percentage of primary (planned) caesarean sections||41.4%|
|Percentage of secondary (unplanned) caesarean sections||58.6%|
|Rate of peridural/spinal anaesthesia (spinal block) during caesarean section||97.3%|
|Besides doctors, carers and midwives, which other salaried personnel does your team feature?||available|
|Birth preparation courses|
|Psychological / psychosomatic walk-in clinic and counselling|
|Individual discussions with midwives|
|What is the standard of equipment?||available|
|own wetroom / WC|
|Are midwives able to assist with delivery in your department?|
|Are midwives of the patient's choice able to assist with delivery in your department?|
|Is there a neonatologist on site round the clock?|
|Is a peridural or spinal anaesthesia possible at any time?|
|Clinical baby examination|
|Laser treatment for sore nipples|
|Psychological care for post-partum problems|
|Single or double rooms||7|
|Rooms with three or four beds||4|
|Five or more beds||0|
1. Please describe your department’s obstetric philosophy
Make birth what it really is:
The most natural, intimate, and probably one of the most beautiful experiences in a woman and her family’s life – that’s what we wish for you and what we work for every day.
And above all with the highest possible safety for two – for mother and child.
That is our duty, our desire and our pleasure!
2. Please describe the process of a problem-free birth in your department, preferably from the woman’s point of view.
Imagine that you’re this far along: You’re having regular contractions and are looking forward to delivery. You’re coping well with labour, but feel like you’re beginning to need more support, so you make your way to hospital. A midwife greets you when you arrive, asks you to go into the admissions room and for your Mutter-Kind Pass. This is where we check your child’s heartbeat, determine how advanced your labour is, and make a decision with you regarding inpatient admission. If you’re still in the early stages of labour, you’ll be given a room in our prenatal ward, and if you’re further along you’ll be taken to the maternity ward. The midwife will take over your care at this point. She will be there for you and will work with you for a positive birthing experience. Of course, doctors will also be on hand to help with the birth. Anaesthetists and paediatricians are also available on site around the clock.
After the successful arrival of your child, we place a strong emphasis on skin-to-skin contact between mother and child. We also encourage bonding in the immediate postnatal period in which the placenta is born, and offer comprehensive support when the mother would like to breastfeed. We offer you a snack and an opportunity to shower, and you and your baby will be transferred to our friendly postnatal room two to three hours after the birth.
3. How does your department handle caesarean deliveries on maternal request (CDMRs)?
Die Semmelweis Frauenklinik is Vienna’s number one traditional maternity clinic.
The clinical team’s philosophy aims to make birth what it really is: the most natural, intimate, and probably one of the most beautiful experiences in a woman and her family’s life. Our number one priority is always to ensure the safety of the mother and child. With safety in mind, we like to encourage our mothers-to-be to have a vaginal delivery if medically possible.
Women are often afraid of birth, seeing it as “the great unknown”. We see it as our duty to make sure that you’re well informed and advised prior to labour and delivery, so that you can look forward to the special event. This will help to reduce fear, and you may not experience any fear at all. Our team of doctors and midwives are there for you at the pregnancy clinic and every Thursday at the information afternoons.
Only in rare cases do women wish to deliver by caesarean section without a medical cause (CDMR). In most cases, the reason for this can be determined and countered during an informative conversation, and the majority do end up preferring a natural delivery at the end of the day.
The pros and cons of each method are discussed in every case. This occurs in a standardised manner by way of a detailed discussion with a midwife AND a doctor in the 37th week of pregnancy at the latest. Without exception, a CDMR is only possible once the discussion has been followed by a PERIOD OF REFLECTION. In our department, however, this opportunity is only very rarely taken up.
In principle, the combination of a CDMR with a sterilisation operation (tubal ligation) is NOT offered in our clinic.
4. How is the birth companion included during the labour (incl. caesareans)?
The right birth companion plays an important role in the birthing process – whether it’s the father of the child, a sister, friend, or mother.
We’re happy to welcome birth companions to our maternity ward – but please, only bring one! – Companion. In the interests of the expectant mothers we ask you to respect this rule.
We know how important concentration is for making good progress during labour. For this reason we make every effort to provide a quiet, relaxed atmosphere in the delivery room. We therefore prefer that the same birth companion is present throughout labour, where possible – in principle it is possible to change, but this does disturb the peaceful atmosphere and should therefore be kept to a minimum and only occur with the permission of the responsible midwife.
We know that having someone you trust in the room can make the labour and delivery process much easier, and we’re happy to show you ways of supporting the mother-to-be, such as massage and supporting in different positions.
We’re also happy to cater for birth companions in delivery by caesarean section: If the caesarean is planned, the companion stays with the patient up to the anteroom of the operating theatre. The companion gets changed while the woman is being prepped in the operating theatre, and is then fetched into the operating theatre in time for delivery so we can stay focused on the mother and child until as close to the end of the operation as possible. We attempt to adhere to this procedure in the case of unplanned caesareans, too.
5. To what extent is the woman free to choose the birthing position?
We always make an effort to accommodate the individual needs of the mother-to-be as much as possible. This includes the choice of the best birthing position for the mother and child, as this can be different for everyone.
In order to ensure that the labour advances as quickly as possible, the midwife will discuss different positions with you. It’s important not to neglect the safety aspect, so we’d like to monitor the child’s heartbeat continuously if necessary. This can be difficult in some positions, so, in rare cases, the mother may have to compromise. Our aim is, therefore, to provide the perfect combination of antenatal safety and the well-being of mother and child.
However, a wide selection of adjustable beds are available, including birthing stools in different heights, Pezzi exercise balls, mats and birthing pools, to help you find the best position in all phases of labour.
6. Please describe how pain is managed.
No birth is painless.
But we’re with you all the way, providing professional support during the challenging hours of labour. We’ll get through it together!
The type and intensity of contractions and labour pains can vary greatly for each individual patient. This also depends on various influential factors (personal sensitivity to pain, pain biography, duration of birth, environment, companions, etc.). Only the patients themselves can judge and decide on the best form of pain management, together with the responsible midwives and doctors.
Should medication be the chosen form of pain relief, we generally follow an incremental plan, choosing the type of medication and its method of administration based on the type and intensity of the pain.
Finally, it goes without saying that there is also the option of peridural anaesthesia (EDA, epidural). An innovative pain pump system allows you to control the level of pain relief. It administers the pain relief continually according to the plan, but you may choose to administer additional amounts if necessary. A highly experienced team of anaesthetists are available to help around the clock! You are warmly invited and encouraged to attend our information sessions, held every first and third Thursday of the month (1pm), to find out more about EDA.
The continual assistance of our experienced midwives, warm baths, movement and helpful positions, relaxation and massage are further methods of relieving pain during labour.
We also offer a wide range of complementary medicine procedures for pain relief: Homoeopathy, acupuncture, aromatherapy and hypnosis all form part of our care concept.
Together with you, we decide which methods – if any – should be used in your individual situation.
7. How is the “comfort factor” taken into account during the birth?
Our extensive parkland provides an inviting space for walks in the early stages of labour. Spending time here can help you to bridge the early stages of labour, until the contractions become strong enough for you to be brought onto the maternity ward.
We’re always working to provide a quiet, relaxed atmosphere in the delivery rooms. To this end, we provide aromatic oils and the opportunity to play any CDs you’ve chosen to bring with you, and we limit the number of people present to only those required.
As a teaching hospital of the Medical University of Vienna, and of the FH Campus Vienna, we also aim to give students practical obstetric experience. For this reason, individual students, always under supervision, may play an active part in your treatment, in line with our philosophy. Respectful and friendly interaction with the women and their privacy goes without saying, and also contributes to the pleasant environment where patients can feel safe and well.
We make sure that ward visiting hours are strictly adhered to, so that the focus can be on the relaxation and recovery of mother and child.
8. What is your department’s position on the use of complementary medical treatments (acupuncture, homoeopathy, aromatherapy etc.)?
In the Semmelweis-Frauenklinik, the “peaceful clinic for women”, we aim to avoid the administration of pharmaceutical pain relief, in order to make birth as intervention-free as possible.
We therefore advocate the use of complementary medicine to support the natural processes during pregnancy and birth. This includes antenatal acupuncture towards the end of the pregnancy, in preparation for birth, and the natural encouragement of labour. In addition, we often work with aromatherapy and homoeopathy, should medical circumstances allow, using warm pillows or relaxing baths to help the woman to personally manage her contractions.
In some cases, we enlist our specially trained hypnosis team.
9. How does your department encourage bonding after vaginal delivery and delivery by caesarean section?
The parent-child relationship is the first intensive bond in a child’s life, and therefore presents a milestone for all future relationships. It is our duty and pleasure in equal measures to support you in building this very important relationship.
In order to strengthen the connection between mother, father and child directly after birth, we place great emphasis on bonding: With the midwife’s guidance, we lay the naked baby on the mother’s chest directly after birth, until it latches onto the breast and begins to feed.
We do this after a vaginal delivery and during a planned caesarean section or a caesarean section which becomes necessary during labour. The decisive early skin-to-skin contact between mother and child therefore takes place as soon as possible, as far as medical circumstances allow, even during the operation. We aim to ensure uninterrupted skin-to-skin contact for the duration of the operation and beyond.
In addition to strengthening relationships, bonding also has numerous medical benefits for mother and child – we would be happy to explain these to you!
If bonding with the mother is not possible, we aim to ensure skin-to-skin contact between father and child in the nursery.
Measuring, weighing and bathing occurs later, so that this first valuable hour is not disturbed. The mother, father and child falling in love is the wonder of the first hour. We endeavour to give you as much time as possible for this
10. What kind support does your department offer for women who experience psychological or social difficulties during or after the birth?
The Semmelweis Frauenklinik has offered antenatal and postnatal psychological support to women for almost 30 years. Clinical psychologists with additional psychotherapy training are not only available to women that have been admitted to the ward, but to outpatients, too. Mental health issues during pregnancy or after the birth can be relieved by psychological support, giving women security and new direction. Our services include: Meetings with individuals and couples, crisis intervention, psychological counselling, short-term psychotherapy, relaxation methods, and grief counselling. If a woman finds herself in an unstable psychological or social situation, we create a support network – often together with a social worker – which can provide solid ground during this uncertain time.
Pregnant women and those in postnatal care with psychiatric diagnoses are, where possible, treated by us during the whole pregnancy in an interdisciplinary manner. For psychiatric consultations with the aim of prescribing suitable psychotropic drugs, we have been working in successful cooperation with the special outpatient unit for perinatal psychiatry in the Otto Wagner Spital for many years. In the case of postnatal depression, we offer additional long-term psychological treatment, or can refer patients to a registered psychotherapist.
Should other issues arise, such as cases of abuse, we are linked with a network of institutes and advisory services, and feel that it is our duty to make informational material available on-site in various languages, and to offer ourselves as a first point of contact.
11. What is your department’s position on rooming in?
Close contact between mother and child is a top priority in our clinic. The 1970s saw the Semmelweis-Frauenklinik become the first maternity clinic in Austria to introduce rooming in. Our commitment to this method remains to this day.
In our clinic, rooming in means that you have your baby in your room with you around the clock, and that they are only taken into the nursery on exceptional medical grounds. This ensures that mothers can get to know their children from their very first hours of life, and are able to react promptly to their needs. You care for your baby – with our support, as you wish – independently and so are best prepared for when you go home. Intensive contact with your child has a positive impact on the breastfeeding relationship.
We also take rooming in to mean that the baby’s father and siblings are also incorporated into the baby’s care from the start. We therefore offer fathers the opportunity to enjoy the whole-day “fathers’ visiting hours”, or to stay in our family room.
12. What is your department’s approach to breastfeeding?
Breastfeeding stimulates the senses – all 5!
Breastfeeding babies smell, taste, hear, feel and see the mother, building a unique inner relationship. Encouraging this all-important first bond is our priority. For this reason we offer professional breastfeeding support in a variety of settings.
Our clinic is a certified Baby Friendly hospital – and we’re proud of it!
The Baby Friendly hospital initiative was jointly created by WHO and UNICEF with the aim to bring global attention to the benefits of breastfeeding and mother’s milk in 152 countries. Baby Friendly hospitals must fulfil strict requirements and only receive this accreditation via regular voluntary certification. A high level of commitment and enthusiasm from staff is required.
Exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months perfectly fulfils your baby’s nutritional needs, starting them off on the right track to a healthy life. We therefore offer individual breastfeeding sessions during pregnancy and hold regular breastfeeding information afternoons. The contents of delivery suite management also help to prepare for breastfeeding.
After the birth, we put a great emphasis on giving you enough time for successful bonding (skin-to-skin contact with the mother until first latching onto the breast). Inpatients on the postnatal ward receive professional advice and support from our nurses and certified breastfeeding consultants (IBCLC). It is rare to find a problem that cannot be solved.
Should your have problems breastfeeding after you have been discharged, our breastfeeding outpatient clinic and two breastfeeding groups are there to help. There you receive not only expert help, but also the opportunity to exchange experiences with other breastfeeding mothers.
13. To what extent does your department accommodate cultural wishes/requests?
Here in the Semmelweis Frauenklinik we have a long history of treating women from different cultures, and caring for migrants from an ever-increasing range of backgrounds is a constant part of our work. We feel that it is our duty to offer migrants, as a socially disadvantaged group, conditions which make them feel valued and help to make their lives easier. Our accommodation of patients’ individual needs also extends to cultural requirements. This includes respecting different requirements with regard to birth and postnatal care, pain and embarrassment, different value systems and religions, and taking these into account during care.
Cultural eating habits are also taken into account in the range of food we offer. We also aim to accommodate patients’ relatives different needs as far as possible.
Many of our information brochures on birth, postnatal care, breastfeeding and psychological issues are available in several languages. Our multilingual staff are on hand to aid comprehension should any language-related problems arise.
Internal training ensures that our staff are sensitive to issues of intercultural communication, encouraging cultural knowledge and openness towards diverse cultural worlds. In terms of psychological care and social work, we cooperate with advisory services who offer multilingual support. We are happy to accommodate the particular admissions situation of pregnant refugees
14. How does your department handle foreign languages?
Moreover, if we are unable to offer you a professional interpreter in our department, we will endeavour to make sure that you understand all the necessary information. Our multilingual staff are always ready to offer help; however, unfortunately, this can often be only very limited, or may not even be available at all, without sufficient language skills. Some of the internal information sheets and brochures are available in several languages; however, we cannot automatically guarantee that your language will be available.
During pregnancy, you are encouraged to regularly attend our outpatient pregnancy clinic. These appointments are not only for medical examinations; we also take the opportunity to provide you with large amounts of information in a personal discussion. This information is important before, during and after the birth. We therefore ask you to bring an interpreter with you to these appointments, and to bear in mind that these may include very intimate examinations and / or personal conversations for which your interpreter should be present. Please make every effort to take this into account when choosing your interpreter.
This particularly applies to the labour itself.
Please also note that only one birth companion may be present at the birth. Should you not have a close, trusting relationship with your interpreter, an exception may be made and your non-German speaking partner, for example, may be allowed to be present in the delivery room. Please therefore organise an interpreter who will be able to accompany you to the birth during the early stages of your pregnancy. Please do not forget that birth is a very intimate event and does not run according to a schedule., and you will therefore need to make sure that your interpreter will be available at short notice. Ideally, your interpreter will be female.
15. What is your department’s position on outpatient birth and early (“premature”) discharge?
Even though the period following the birth often seems “so far away” before the baby is born, the postnatal period is a very important time, which is as much part of the birth as the pregnancy itself.
Our number one priority is always to ensure the safety of the mother and child. Above what is medically necessary, we’re open to your individual wishes.
Patients are generally discharged on the 3rd day after a vaginal delivery and on the 4th day after delivery by caesarean section.
If there is no medical disadvantage to mother or child, “premature discharge” or “outpatient delivery” is also possible.
However, please remember that the immediate postnatal period brings many new experiences, lots of change, and many milestones (including breastfeeding, baby blues…). Our competent, experienced team is happy to support you during your time as an inpatient.
However, if you’d rather spend the time after the birth at home in familiar surroundings, please organise a midwife who can care for you at home in good time, during your pregnancy. In this case, the first paediatric Mutter-Kind Pass examination will be conducted by your paediatrician as an outpatient. We’re happy to help you plan how to best organise the time following the birth.