- avoid alcohol, tobacco and drugs as well as certain food products
- notify your employer well in advance when you intend to go on family leave
- apply for the maternity grant, child benefit and other family benefits from Kela
- acknowledge your paternity or maternity at the maternity clinic, if needed.
If your period does not start as normal, you could be pregnant. The pregnancy must always be confirmed with a test.
You can buy pregnancy tests at pharmacies and at many grocery stores. You can also have a pregnancy test done at a health centre or in school or student healthcare.
Some women have strong symptoms such as nausea at the beginning of the pregnancy. Some women may be pregnant for a long time without any symptoms.
If your pregnancy test has been positive, you can contact the maternity clinic. However, because miscarriages are common during the first weeks of pregnancy, there is no rush to contact the clinic.
It is a good idea to contact the clinic when your pregnancy has lasted between 6 and 8 weeks or your period is about four weeks late. If you are not sure about how long the pregnancy has lasted, you should contact the maternity clinic as soon as you have found out that you are pregnant.
If your pregnancy has come as a surprise, mention this when you call the maternity clinic
You should pay attention to your lifestyle from the beginning of the pregnancy. Drugs, alcohol and tobacco are harmful to the foetus. You should also avoid several foodstuffs.
Also remember to apply to Kela for the parental allowances and for the maternity grant, which is the maternity package. You can apply to Kela for child benefit once the child is born. You can find more information on family leave and benefits on the page Leave and benefits for the parents of small children.
The wellbeing of the pregnant woman and the foetus is monitored at the maternity clinic.
Your first appointment is usually made for week 8, 9 or 10. The father of the child is also welcomed at the clinic. The same applies to the other parent in a rainbow couple or to some other person supporting the mother.
All pregnant women in Finland have the right to participate in screening tests during pregnancy, such as ultrasound examinations and the maternal serum screening test. The screening tests help to find possible foetal developmental disorders or structural abnormalities at a very early stage.
Read more on page Screenings during pregnancy.
Expectant parents receive support and advice on pregnancy and prospective parenting from the maternity clinic. The pregnant woman gets advice on nutrition, physical activity, sleep, rest and general health and wellbeing. The clinic directs parents who are expecting a child to family guidance where they receive information about pregnancy, giving birth and parenting.
In addition to the maternity clinic, different organisations, associations and peer groups provide support and advice:
- The Family Federation of Finland provides support and advisory services.
- Sateenkaariperheet ry supports rainbow families who are expecting a baby.
- Yhden Vanhemman Perheiden Liitto ry helps expectant mothers who are on their own.
- Multicultural families can get advice from Familia.
- Simpukka ry supports people who have experienced unintended childlessness.
- If your family is expecting twins or triplets, you get peer support from the Finnish Multiple Births Association.
- Supli, Suomen uusperheiden liitto ry, specialises in issues concerning blended families.
If there are problems related to violence or substance abuse in your family, you should talk about them at the maternity clinic. In addition, Nollalinja and mother and child homes and shelters will help you.
Some foodstuffs may be harmful to the foetus. You should already find out about the dietary guidelines during pregnancy when you are planning a pregnancy or as soon as the pregnancy begins, at the latest.
You will get information about suitable nutrition at the maternity clinic.
Miscarriages are common during the first weeks of pregnancy. If you have a spontaneous miscarriage during the very first weeks, it is not your fault and you cannot do anything about the situation. Check with healthcare professionals, for example the maternity clinic, whether you need any examinations.
If you are already a client of the maternity clinic and suspect that everything is not all right, contact the clinic or the maternity outpatient clinic immediately.
In an emergency, always call 112.
The person who gives birth is the mother of a child. If the mother has a husband when the child is born, this person will be the child’s father.
If the mother and father are not married when the child is born, the father’s paternity will have to be confirmed separately. When a female couple receive a child with the help of fertility treatment, the non-biological mother can be confirmed as the child’s other mother.
For the Digital and Population Data Services Agency to be able to confirm a person’s paternity or another mother’s maternity, the person must acknowledge their paternity or maternity. The acknowledgement can be done during the pregnancy at the child health clinic or the office of the child welfare supervisor.
Read about acknowledging and confirming parenthood on the page Confirming the paternity of a father or the maternity of another mother.