Birth & Midwifery in Bulgaria
Resources for parents and practitioners
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Some of the following sites may not be in English; an online translator may be useful.
Birth Situation Room Report
Midwifery Today Country Contact*
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Toni Kalushkova and Yoana Stancheva
Toni Kalushkova hopes to set up her own pregnancy school. She graduated in midwifery education in 1988 at the Medicine College of Varna. After that she worked as a midwife for 12 years, consulting and helping with pregnant women. After reform in the Bulgarian health care system in the year 2000, Toni lost her job. She and a colleague operated their own health care center for nine years. Toni tells us, “In our country the midwife cannot have self practice, but must be working with a doctor. Pictures from our breastfeeding action can be seen on my website: www.happymumsbg.com” She would be happy to hear from others about working on such projects.
Yoana Stancheva is a doula who is on her way to a midwifery degree in the upcoming years. She says she loves what Jan Tritten said once: “It's a natural progression for moms to become doulas, and for doulas to become midwives.” This is very much how things have unfolded for me. Yoana is Chair of the Association of Bulgarian Doulas. Yoana hopes that midwifery worldwide will rehabilitate its status as a true science with its unique methods and skills. She tells Midwifery Today how she envisions the future of birth and midwifery: “I envision powerful women of the present looking back to gather the essence of womanhood, healing our surroundings, offering true recipes for healthy babies and mothers, cooking soul food to keep our families strong and inspired for life.”
Midwives Have Few Rights in Bulgaria
Here in Bulgaria, we do not have the same rights as elsewhere around the world. I mean the right of “self-practice.” For a long while the government has avoided passing laws that allow this. Only the doctors are allowed to look after a pregnant woman, take care of her and assist in delivery. The basic college education required for midwifery is at a high level, but the job is not so interesting because we cannot have our own business in the terms of self-practice. Midwifery is unbelievably poorly paid, which is also one of the main reasons that young people are not interested in the profession. There also are not enough opportunities for further education and advancement.
Methods like Bradley, HypnoBirthing, Lamaze, Perinatal Psychology and others are unknown here. This situation harms pregnant women. Parturition is allowed only in hospitals and the women go there knowing nothing and, most of all, with fear.
— Tony Kalushkova
Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria