Pregnancy and childbirth

Pregnant women receive pre-natal care free of charge, if they have been had legal residence in Iceland for the past six months. The purpose of this care is to promote the health of the mother and child with professional care, support and training.

Pre-natal care

  • Pre-natal examinations for healthy, pregnant women take place in local healthcare centres.
  • Pre-natal care is free of charge for expecting mothers who have had legal residence in Iceland for six months.
  • Women who are considered to have a risky pregnancy are treated at the Landspitali Hospital Gynaecology Ward (LS) and the Akureyri Hospital Division of Gynaecology.
  • The first medical examination takes place between the 8th and 12th week of pregnancy. Women who are pregnant with their first child are expected to have 10 medical examinations before they give birth, while women who have already had a child will have 7.
  • Midwives carry out pre-natal care in close collaboration with doctors and other specialists.
  • Pregnant women are offered an ultra-sound scan at 19 - 20 weeks into their pregnancy. If the pregnancy entails any special risks, ultra-sound scans can be performed earlier and more frequently, and more tests can be carried out according to need.
  • A follow-up medical examination by a doctor or midwife is desirable 6 - 10 weeks after giving birth. The general health of the mother is then assessed and advice is provided.
  • In many places courses are available for expecting parents. Information relating to this can be obtained at healthcare centres and at the Centre for Pre-natal Care.


  • Women are free to give birth to their children in any hospital they choose that provides obstetric services. There is no charge for giving birth for mothers with health insurance in Iceland.
  • The lying-in period varies in duration according to the nature of the birth, and may last from one day up to several days.
  • After birth, nurses will visit the mother and child at home, but after the age of 6 weeks medical examinations will take place in healthcare centres.
  • Mothers may return home within 36 hours of having given birth, if conditions for the health and safety of the mother and child are met. The mother will then receive home service from the midwife over the following days free of charge. Bear in mind that home service is not available in all parts of Iceland.

Home birth

  • A woman may give birth at home if her health and the health of her child, as well as various other conditions, permit. Midwives, who provide pre-natal care, provide information concerning arrangements for home birth.
  • A mother who gives birth at home is entitled to sick pay for 10 days from the birth of a child.

Links of interest 

Laws and regulations