Half of pregnant women turned away at OLVG
Midwives in Amsterdam have had their hands full. Around one in two pregnant women were turned away at the OLVG, AT5 reported. Instead, they had to go to other hospitals in the city or outside of Amsterdam to give birth.
“Everyone wants to give birth in an Amsterdam hospital but it needs to be safe”, said specialized obstetrics nurse Femke Brans from the OLVG. The OLVG, which accounts for two-thirds of all hospitals in Amsterdam, has been dealing with staff shortages due to people on sick leave.
Brans is also responsible for the capacity of the hospital ward. “When I start my shift, the department is usually already completely filled with women giving birth”, Brans said. “We already started with less staff and you also have to take into account the next shift. You have to be careful not to overcrowd the ward.”
“People don’t have to worry: they will not have to give birth on the street in front of the hospital. I think it would be a good idea to lower expectations a bit. We cannot always meet the expectation of being able to give birth in Amsterdam”, Brans said.
So far in 2021, there have been 880 pregnant women in Amsterdam who were not able to give birth in the hospital of their choice out of a total of 2,835 births at the OLVG.
Oftentimes, multiple hospitals need to be called before a spot can be found for a pregnant woman. “The need is really great”, obstetrician from the Amsterdam birthing center Karlijn Janssen said. “On average, we have to call four hospitals before we are able to find one that is free.”
A solution that Brans suggested was giving birth at home. “Of course, that is not for everyone, but I would definitely take it as an option”, Brans stated.