Swedish maternity ward in ‘birth tourism’ push

Sweden's smallest maternity ward, at Sollefteå hospital in the north of the country, is hoping to reverse the trend of contracting numbers by launching a 'birth tourism' initiative to attract expectant couples from far and wide.

Swedish maternity ward in 'birth tourism' push

“We want to offer the services of our lovely hospital to more women in Sweden. All are welcome here,” Karin Leiknes at Sollefteå maternity ward told The Local on Tuesday.

Leiknes explained that she and a colleague decided to launch the “birth tourism” concept after having come across something similar in Norway.

“If it works in Norway, then why wouldn’t it work here,” she said.

She explained that the project is a joint venture between them and a health centre located around seven kilometres from the hospital.

The plan is to offer a range of spa treatments and relaxing pursuits at a reasonable price to expectant parents.

“It is important to have peace and quiet ahead of a birth. For example in Stockholm a short while ago there was a shortage of places and people were forced to drive around. We offer a lower stress environment,” Leiknes explained.

The basic price for room and board at the health centre, a converted sanatorium, has been set at 300 kronor ($43) per person per night with charges for spa treatments on top of that.

Leiknes confirmed that the Sollefteå maternity ward has long been threatened by closure, with many potential customers opting to travel to Östersund in Jämtland to give birth.

“There has been a lot of twists and turns. We are Sweden’s smallest maternity ward, but that does not mean we offer a poorer service,” Leiknes said.

“We are very proud of what we do, our statistics are strong and we would like to say – a warm welcome to all comers!”

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