Assistance to pregnant refugees

Ukrainian refugee women in Poland are also pregnant women who are in particular need of specialised help and support. Therefore, it is for them that we have prepared a guide presenting the most important, useful information. Find out about issues such as free medical care, emergency contraception, prenatal testing or financial assistance in our country.

I am a refugee and I came to Poland pregnant

As Ukrainian refugees (with a PESEL number) are entitled to free medical care in Poland, this assistance also includes perinatal care. However, it is worth remembering a few rules.

  1. Please note that medical documents for pregnancy management in Ukraine and Poland do not have the same status – it is necessary to have them translated by an official translator or to start pregnancy management from scratch with a Polish doctor (i.e. repeat some tests, etc.). Detailed information in this regard can be obtained from any gynaecologist / gynaecological clinic.
  2. If a refugee woman is about to give birth, all she has to do is go to the nearest hospital and receive the necessary assistance.
  3. If a refugee woman who does not have a PESEL number is about to give birth (e.g. she has been in Poland for such a short time that she has not had a chance to obtain one), she may also go to a hospital, because the PESEL number is not a prerequisite for receiving medical assistance (in such a case, she may, for example, present her passport with a border crossing stamp).
  4. In the event of an immediate threat to the life and health of a pregnant woman, the emergency number 999/112 should be called.
  5. A pregnant refugee is entitled to free examinations (e.g. ultrasound, OCG, blood count, general urine test). She is entitled to priority in the queue to the doctor and to some pharmacies, free medicines for pregnant women, anaesthesia and the possibility to have a relative present during childbirth.

I need emergency contraception

In Poland, emergency contraception is only available by prescription. It can be issued by a doctor of any specialization (not only a gynaecologist) – also online. The prescription can then be filled at any pharmacy.

Due to the problems encountered in obtaining a prescription for emergency contraception, the initiative “EllaOne – contraception after. Prescription for a one zloty”. It makes it possible to obtain a prescription after paying a symbolic amount for the generation of the document (PLN 5). This option can also be used by refugees from Ukraine.

I am in an unwanted pregnancy

  1. Window of Life” is a specially prepared place that allows mothers who are unable to care for their newborn baby to leave it there anonymously. The use of the “Window of Life” must be well-thought-out – because the surrender of the newborn is of a definitive nature.
  2. In Poland, it is not possible to carry out abortions on request – the so-called abortion compromise is in force, i.e. termination of pregnancy is possible in two cases:
    • when the pregnancy poses a threat to the life or health of the pregnant woman (without restrictions due to the age of the fetus), including mental health
    • when there is a reasonable suspicion that the pregnancy is the result of a prohibited act (up to 12 weeks from the beginning of the pregnancy).
  3. However, terminating one’s own pregnancy by means of a pharmacological abortion is not a criminal offence. Assistance in this type of termination of pregnancy is offered by the ADT organisation.

Prenatal diagnostic tests

mother and child's hands on a white background

If a refugee woman is at least 35 years old and has a family history of previous genetic diseases or ultrasound results are worrisome, she is entitled to more detailed tests under the free Prenatal Testing Program. A referral for these tests should be requested from a doctor.

Birth of a premature baby

If the baby is born too early, it is automatically placed in an incubator in the Intensive Care Unit of the hospital in question. The doctor decides to keep the baby there until breathing and sucking on its own is no longer a problem. Parents have the right to see their child and be kept informed of his or her condition and recommendations. It is essential to check whether the facility offers hotels for parents. In addition, at the hospital, you can ask about the duty of a psychologist in a crisis situation. After leaving the hospital, there are routine checks by paediatricians and neonatologists – and vaccinations remain mandatory, including the RSV (respiratory epithelial virus) vaccination. Supporting materials on giving birth to a premature baby in Ukrainian.

Financial assistance for pregnant women and mothers after childbirth

To receive the following social benefits:

  • one-time allowance for the birth of a child, the so-called “becikowe”,
  • benefits from the “500+” program,
  • nursery subsidy,
  • family allowance and parental benefit,

you must stay with the child in Poland (for the duration of the benefits) and go to the nearest Municipal Social Assistance Center (‘MOPS’) to fill out the appropriate applications.

List of facilities/organizations that help pregnant women from Ukraine

“FEDERA” – Foundation for Women and Family Planning

Under the “I need help” tab, you can find information related to pregnancy, legal assistance in the field of medical law, termination surgery, life-threatening situations related to pregnancy, emergency contraception, etc. A Ukrainian-language leaflet and a special e-mail address have also been prepared: [email protected].

Humane Birth Foundation

The Foundation has prepared a Ukrainian-language birth plan that can be given to the doctor – the expectations of the pregnant woman are listed in them. You can also search for an institution in the list of birthing schools, hospitals – along with ratings of these units, making it easier to plan your birth. A database of midwives and doctors for Ukrainian women is also available.

Centre for Women’s Rights – helpline

Centrum Praw Kobiet (‘The Women’s Rights Center’) has launched a helpline for refugee women, which offers legal, social and informational assistance to women from Ukraine. Pregnant women can turn there to obtain the necessary information related to pregnancy.

Family Maternity Centre “Koala”

The center offers free Ukrainian birthing school classes, hospital layettes, lactation and psychological support. Details here.

Ernest Wojcicki Foundation for Prenatal Medicine

The foundation provides psychological support in Ukrainian for people in difficult perinatal situations. If you need such assistance, send an email to [email protected].

Mother’s House – Warsaw

If you are pregnant or have recently given birth, you can turn to the Mother’s House. It is possible to receive layette for a newborn / for the hospital – diapers, clothes, cosmetics, bottles and much more.