Giving birth in a car: a real rural problem in Sweden

With maternity care facilities far away, women living in rural areas sometimes have to give birth in their car. (Pexels)
An upcoming exhibition at the Kiruna city hall, up above the Arctic Circle, is about women in the north of Sweden who’ve had to give birth in their cars, because the maternity ward is too far away.

Marie Rahkola’s account of giving birth in a parking lot during a snowstorm, is one of five women’s stories that make up the exhibition. (She is also the one who came up with the idea for the exhibition.)

When Radio Sweden reaches her to find out more, she is in the middle of cooking for her kids as she recalls that frightening New Year’s Eve when she went into labor.

She and the artists behind the exhibition hope to rekindle a debate on the shortage of maternity care facilities in rural areas.

Radio Sweden also speaks to the deputy chair of the regional executive committee of Norrbotten – the Left party politician Glenn Berggård, about what’s being done to alleviate the need for women to deliver babies in cars.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Lack of services in Arctic is killing Inuit, witnesses tell inquiry into violence against Indigenous women in Canada, Eye on the Arctic

Finland: Sudden shift in weather brings hazardous driving conditions in Finland, Yle News

Sweden: Snow chaos: Police urge motorists in Sourthern Sweden to stay at home, Radio Sweden

Russia: Arctic Russia military town left without heating and hot water, The Independent Barents Observer

United States:  Food insecurity in Alaska, Alaska Dispatch News

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