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Pregnancy, Prenatal Care & Birth

Prenatal care is free of charge as long as the patient has had their legal domicile registered in Iceland for at least six months. The objective of the program is to promote the health of both pregnant people and fetuses with professional care, support and training.

Prenatal Care

Prenatal examinations for healthy pregnancies take place at your local healthcare center. Prenatal care is free of charge for patients who have had their legal domicile registered in Iceland for at least six months.

High-risk pregnancies are treated by the Obstetrics & Gynecology Department at the National University Hospital of Iceland (Landspítali) or by the Division of Obstetric & Gynecology at Akureyri Hospital.

The first exam takes place between the eighth and twelfth weeks of pregnancy. For first pregnancies you'll generally have ten exams before giving birth while for second and later pregnancies you are generally seen seven times.

Midwives handle prenatal care in collaboration with physicians and other specialists.

Your first ultrasound is typically scheduled around 19 - 20 weeks. With any elevated risk factors, ultrasounds may be scheduled earlier and more frequently, and more tests may be carried out as needed.

A follow-up medical examination by a doctor or midwife is typically scheduled 6 - 10 weeks after you give birth. Your general health is accessed and you will have a chance to ask for any advice or guidance.

Courses for expectant parents are widely available around the country. Ask at your local healthcare center for more information or wherever you go for prenatal care.


You may choose to give birth at any healthcare facility that offers obstetric services. There is for no charge for labor and delivery as long as the patient is insured by Icelandic national health insurance system.

The length of your postnatal hospital stay varies according to the birth, but typically last from one day up to several days.

After the birth a nurse will come for a home visit, but after the baby is 6 weeks old, examinations take place at the local healthcare center.

You can be discharged after 36 hours of giving birth provided certain health and safety criteria are met. A midwife can visit for in-home care over the following days free of charge. Note that home visits are not available in all part of Iceland.

Home Births

You may also give birth at home if your health and the health of the fetus permit and other conditions are met. The midwives who provide your prenatal can offer more information on home birth arrangements.

Note that if you give birth at home, you are entitled to sick pay for ten days after the birth.

Keep in Mind

  • It is advisable to have your first prenatal check before the 13th week of pregnancy.

  • If you are covered by the Icelandic social insurance system then prenatal care, infant care and pediatric care is free of charge.

  • Folic acid is recommended during at least the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.

Laws and regulations