St. Josef-Krankenhaus

Facts and Figures

Births per year 4234
Rate of episiotomy (perineotomy) in natural birth 4.5 %
cesarean section rate 29.1 %
Percentage of primary (planned) caesarean sections 39 %
Percentage of secondary (unplanned) caesarean sections 61 %
Rate of peridural/spinal anaesthesia (spinal block) during caesarean section 89 %
Besides doctors, carers and midwives, which other salaried personnel does your team feature? available
Social workers
Offers for future mothers
Offer available free
Pregnancy exercises
Birth preparation courses
Psychological / psychosomatic walk-in clinic and counselling
Individual discussions with midwives
How many birthing rooms are there?: 11
What is the standard of equipment? available
Birthing stool
Birth wheel
Pezzi ball
Wall bars
own wetroom / WC
Number of birthing tubs:4
Care from pregnancy week:28
offer available
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?
Offers for mothers and new born babies
offer available free
Clinical baby examination
Hip ultrasound
Listening test
Laser treatment for sore nipples
Social counselling
Breastfeeding counselling
Nutrition counselling
Psychological care for post-partum problems
Confinement exercises
Back exercises
Private groups
Baby gymnastics
Baby massage
Number of family rooms:
Number of rooms for women who have just given birth
general class
Single or double rooms 10
Rooms with three or four beds 5
Five or more beds 0
special class
Single rooms 6
Double rooms 5
Routine discharge after spontaneous birth in days3
Routine discharge after Caesarean section in days4

1. Please describe your department’s obstetric philosophy

In our parent-child centre, consisting of a large obstetrics department and a children’s department with neonatology, we offer a wide range of services relating to pregnancy and birth. Despite the size of our department (with more than 3,500 births per year we are the largest maternity clinic in Vienna) we offer expectant mothers a very individual level of care in a loving environment. In our neonatology department we look after premature babies from the 28th week of pregnancy.

Our philosophy about birth is simple: We allow nature the greatest possible scope for development – and can always fall back on the safety net of modern medicine. We offer the possibility of ” birth under the guidance of a midwife”: As long as the birth is uneventful and medical parameters are normal, you will be cared for by our midwife team; a doctor can be consulted at any time. Furthermore, we are one of the few maternity clinics in which specialists with many years of experience in spontaneous delivery in breech presentation are working.

As far as possible, we cater to the individual wishes and needs of the expectant mother during pregnancy as well as during and after the birth. At our hospital you will find a range of options in order to plan the birth of your child according to your ideas and to create a special experience. We also rely on professionally-competent care, human contact and medical services of the highest level.

2. Please describe the process of a problem-free birth in your department, preferably from the woman’s point of view.

After the initial examination (incl. CTG), the mother is accompanied into a labour room by a midwife. During labour we cater to your wishes; you shall receive what is good for you. You can choose the birthing position yourself, take a relaxing bath or make use of the offer of warm compresses and massages. The heart sounds of the child are regularly monitored and the cervix examined when required. If the pain is too great, alternative medicine, pain-relieving medications or epidural anaesthesia (EDA) are available. All in all, we try to allow the natural process to take its course and not to intervene overly in the progress of the birth.

The father or another trusted person may support and motivate during the birth. Dimmable light, music or aromatic oils provide a home-like atmosphere. For a problem-free birth, care takes place exclusively by a midwife, but during the final minutes a doctor is also present. In the event of complications, gynaecologists are always present; an anaesthetist and a paediatrician are on stand-by. In case of complications, gynaecologists, anaesthetists and paediatricians are available around the clock at the hospital.

When the child is born, we remain discreetly in the background in order to allow the new family to get to know one another undisturbed (“bonding”). The new-born lies on the mother’s stomach and first latching also takes place during this time. After the birth, mother and child receive follow-up care on the ward with rooming-in. If it is an outpatient birth, both may be discharged directly from the labour room a few hours after the birth.

3. How does your department handle caesarean deliveries on maternal request (CDMRs)?

At St. Josef Krankenhaus, Vienna, it is our particular objective to enable women to have a natural birth and to support them well on this journey. We endeavour to carry out caesarean sections only if medically necessary. A caesarean section for non-medical reasons is also possible after a detailed discussion with the patient and weighing up the risk factors.

4. How is the birth companion included during the labour (incl. caesareans)?

At St. Josef Krankenhaus, Vienna, it is our particular objective to enable women to have a natural birth and to support them well on this journey. We endeavour to carry out caesarean sections only if medically necessary. A caesarean section for non-medical reasons is also possible after a detailed discussion with the patient and weighing up the risk factors.

5. To what extent is the woman free to choose the birthing position?

At St. Josef Krankenhaus, Vienna, the expectant mother may be accompanied by a trusted person (father or another close caregiver) for the entire birth process. This is usually perceived by women as very valuable support. Continuous presence of the accompanying person is generally also possible in the event of a caesarean section.

6. Please describe how pain is managed.

Initially we try to motivate and support the woman so that she copes with the birth pain without the administration of medication. In many cases the analgesic effect of the (happy) hormones which are produced during birth is sufficient.

If the birth pain becomes too strong, several options are available, from alternative remedies (homoeopathy, acupuncture, Bach flower remedies) to pain-relieving medication to epidural anaesthesia (EDA). In principle, we also try to interfere as little as possible with the issue of pain and only as much as necessary in the physiological process.

7. How is the “comfort factor” taken into account during the birth?

We make sure that the expectant mother feels comfortable and that she receives what is good for her during the entire birth process. The women can choose themselves what clothing they wear, what birthing position they take and how they want to handle the birth pain. They receive the time that they need for the birth of their child. An accompanying person may be present the entire time and motivate and support the woman.

Our delivery rooms are characterised by a quiet, homely atmosphere with lots of wood and indirect lighting and are equipped with concealed high-tech equipment for medical emergencies.

Our labour rooms are furnished very attractively according to the principles of colour-psychology. Through the effect of colours they lose the hospital character and invite one to relax and feel comfortable. Almost all rooms are equipped with a couch so that the partner or companion can also rest. Dimmable light, personal music or aromatic oils also ensure the well-being of the expectant mother. Privacy is protected by a strict ban on visitors in the labour ward.

8. What is your department’s position on the use of complementary medical treatments (acupuncture, homoeopathy, aromatherapy etc.)?

At St. Josef Krankenhaus, Vienna, complementary medicine methods are encouraged and willingly used if requested. In order to assist the women in dealing with the birth pain, we frequently use complementary medicine methods such as acupuncture, homoeopathy, aromatherapy or Bach flower extracts alongside pain-relieving medication or epidural anaesthesia.

Acupuncture is also used by many women in preparing for birth or in handling pregnancy complaints (heartburn, nausea, water retention etc.). Children are treated homoeopathic ally in the postnatal period if necessary.

9. How does your department encourage bonding after vaginal delivery and delivery by caesarean section?

When the baby is born, we remain discreetly in the background in order to allow the new family to get to know one another undisturbed. The newborn lies warmly covered and in direct skin contact on the mother’s stomach and first latching also takes place during this time. Only afterwards are the babies weighed and measured.

In each room there is a care unit for the newborn so that after the birth, mother and child (together with the accompanying person) can remain together the whole time. About two to three hours after the birth, mother and child leave the labour ward.

At St. Josef Krankenhaus, Vienna, so-called C-section bonding is also implemented: Even after a caesarean section – planned or unplanned – the child is laid on the mother’s chest warmly covered directly after the birth while still in the operating room. The bonding process can therefore take place directly after the birth of the child even with a caesarean section and the mother-child bond is not interrupted.

10. What kind support does your department offer for women who experience psychological or social difficulties during or after the birth?

A social worker from MA 11 is at St. Josef Krankenhaus, Vienna, twice a week and supports women with legal, financial or even personal questions.

If the women are suffering from mental strain and/or mental problems, our employees of the Psychotherapy and Clinical Psychology Departments are on hand both before and after the birth. The Hospital Pastoral Care at St. Josef Krankenhaus, Vienna, offers further support and a chance to talk.

If women have a particular need for care, they receive information from us about external institutions and specialists who can offer support.

11. What is your department’s position on rooming in?

A particular concern of ours is to promote intensive contact between mother and child from birth. We therefore offer continuous rooming-in at St. Josef Krankenhaus, Vienna. This means that mother and child are always together, day and night. This creates great closeness and the baby can be breastfed on demand. Our employees are available for questions or uncertainties at any time.

12. What is your department’s approach to breastfeeding?

Breastfeeding is a very important issue at St. Josef Krankenhaus, Vienna. Breastfeeding is much more than feeding – mothers give their baby warmth, assurance and protection in this way.

As part of their stay at St. Josef Krankenhaus, Vienna, the mothers receive the opportunity to practise correct latching and get to know the drinking habits of their child. They receive help and support with questions or problems through our IBCLC-certified (International Board Certified breastfeeding counsellors) breastfeeding counsellors and our best-trained nursing staff.

13. To what extent does your department accommodate cultural wishes/requests?

At St. Josef Krankenhaus, Vienna we offer all women, regardless of origin and culture, the opportunity to give birth in a very personal and familiar atmosphere. We try to cater for individual wishes as best and as far as possible. For example, if a woman would only like to be treated by female medical staff, we try to grant this wish – as far as organisationally possible.

14. How does your department handle foreign languages?

For a better communication with our (expectant) mothers we can fall back on foreign language staff. The staff of the Parent-Child Centre at St. Josef Hospital Vienna cover many languages, from Arabic to Hungarian. The introduction of video interpreting is also planned.

15. What is your department’s position on outpatient birth and early (“premature”) discharge?

For mothers who do not want to do without the safety of a hospital but want to return soon to a familiar environment, we offer the option of an outpatient birth.

If the birth proceeds without complications the woman can go home with her child a few hours later. The condition is that both are also looked after at home by a midwife. A large pool of freelance midwives are available for this as well as employees from the team at St. Josef Krankenhaus, Vienna, in some cases. A visit to a paediatrician within the first week of life is also necessary in order that the first paediatric mother-child health passport examination can be performed.