Maternity and child health clinics
Maternity and child health services are offered for all pregnant parents, families that are expecting a baby and children before school age and their parents.
The functions of the maternity and child health clinics are based on Health Care Act and the Decree of Government on maternity and child health clinics, school and student health care services and preventive oral health care services.
Maternity clinics provide follow up of pregnancy and health of the pregnant parent during pregnancy and after the delivery and the growth and development of the fetus. They support the welfare of families, with attention to relationships and parenting. Special emphasis is given to the role of both parents and their roles and responsibilities as parents.
The maternity and child health clinics work in collaboration with early childhood education and care, child protection and other social welfare services and specialist health care, and other health care and social welfare providers working for families.
Expectant mothers normally meet with a nurse and doctor 11-15 times during pregnancy. Attending a maternity clinic is one of the preconditions for eligibility for maternity benefit. One visit during maternity and three before school are so called wide health checks where both parents participate, and a nurse and a doctor evaluate the health, welfare and issues affecting the whole family.
The maternity health clinics may also organize family and childbirth preparative sessions. Expectant mothers are offered screening for structural and chromosomal abnormalities during pregnancy. In cases of abnormal growth or development the person concerned is referred to specialist care.
Child health clinics follow and promote the physical, mental and social condition of children under school age, provide vaccinations and support parents in providing secure, child-focused rearing, care and in attending to relationships. The clinics also promote healthy growing environments for children and healthy family lifestyles. If families need special support, they may be referred to specialist care.
Support is provided by home visits by a public health nurse before and after the birth of a child, and at other times if needed, plus by parents' groups.
Child health clinics try to identify problems affecting families with small children at an early stage and to arrange for appropriate help and support. The clinics carry out multi-professional collaboration with other professionals working with young families.
From the beginning of 2022 the wellbeing services counties take the responsibility to arrange social and health services, including health clinics.
Roles of different authorities in the health clinics activities
The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health is responsible for guiding the development of maternity and child health clinics. The wellbeing services counties are in charge of the practical arrangement of services. The Finnish Institute for health and welfare provides guidance and education for health care organisations and professionals.
Regional State Administrative Agencies offices and National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health supervises and guides healthcare professionals and medical facilities.
Pia Suvivuo, Senior Specialist
Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, Department for Communities and Functional Capacity / YTO, Children and Young People Unit / LANU Telephone:0295163517 Email Address: