Planning a new addition to the family

Your options for giving birth in Varna

Written by Yoanna Rachovska, edited by Scott Green, photos by Unsplash


Choosing a hospital for the birth of your child is a major decision, one you need to make during, if not before your pregnancy. Below we’ve included some statistics and basic information about the three hospitals in which women in Varna can give birth. Hopefully, this will help you make an informed decision. The hospitals are ordered according to the number of babies birthed there annually. 

Before we begin though… 
A little tip from a doula: start the process of choosing a hospital and/or doctor as early as possible! The last month of pregnancy is not the best time for making decisions: you better save it for lots of rest. Make a birth plan early on, then select your top 3-5 priorities for the birth, and check where you can have these. In some cases, the choice will be quite easy. For example, if your top priority is the best possible neonatal unit, you need to give birth in AG-bolnitsa. If your top priority is to share the birth with the father – then Maichin dom is the only option (at the time of writing this article). In other cases, however, you may need to talk to several doctors from different hospitals to find the best match. Here are your options: 


“Prof. d-r Dimitar Stanatov” OBGYN public hospital

This hospital is specialized in OBGYN care only. Locals refer to it as AG-bolnitsa (OBGYN hospital), so we’ll refer to it this way here. The number of births there in 2020 was 2001. Of those, 56% were by C-section. About 6% of the babies had some complications (see the report by Clinica.bg.)

This hospital has a highly specialized neonatal care unit, which is considered the best-equipped in the Northeastern part of the country. So, as mentioned above, if this is your top priority, you do not even need to read further. The same goes if your pregnancy is extremely high risk: this is the place where the highest number of pregnancy-related complications are treated on an annual basis.

In AG-bolnitsa, you can pay for a VIP room. The maternity ward on the VIP floor has better living conditions than the regular maternity ward. You can also choose a doctor for the birth: this is possible in all Varna L&D wards at varying fees.

As in any public hospital, the staff are experienced but may be quite busy and overworked at times. So, you may expect them to be a bit more cross and impatient than the staff in a private hospital. One thing some women dislike about AG-bolnitsa is the long duration of mother-baby separation after a C-section: up to 48 hours, even if both mother and baby are healthy.

At the time of writing this article, fathers or other birth companions are not allowed at births due to COVID restrictions.


“Sveta Anna” public hospital

The birth ward of “Sveta Anna” is just one of the many specialized units of this hospital. People in Varna also refer to it as Okruzhna bolnitsa (The Regional Hospital). The number of births there in 2020 was 1275. Of them, 42% were by C-section. Official reports say 50% of the babies had some kind of complication (see the report by Clinica.bg.). To some parents, this statistic is worrying and strange, compared to 6% and 10% in the other two hospitals.

Many women give birth in “Sveta Anna” because their chosen doctor works there, or because they believe in “Sveta Anna” they have the highest chance of vaginal delivery (given the statistics, it does seem so). The hospital has a breastfeeding consultant available to provide support to you if necessary, however, she is only available at certain hours on certain days. You would have to ask your attending nurse/midwife about when she is next on shift and able to visit you. Also, those that prefer not to pay anything for the birth have this option both here and in AG-bolnitsa. If you choose this path, you cannot select a doctor or have a more luxurious room.

The L&D ward in “Sveta Anna” has been renovated. Still, you may prefer to bring your own linen. Like in AG-bolnitsa, babies are separated from mothers after a c-section, but usually for less time.  

At the time of writing this article, fathers or other birth companions are not allowed at births due to COVID restrictions.


Maichin Dom Varna

Maichin Dom is the only option for giving birth in a private hospital in Varna is Maichin dom. In 2020, about 1000 births took place there, of which 66% were by C-section. This is the highest C-section rate in Varna. A lot of these surgeries are usually elective. About 10% of the babies had some complications at birth (see the report by Clinica.bg.)

Generally, in Maichin Dom you are less likely to be separated from the baby for a long period after the birth if both of you are healthy. Usually, babies are with their mothers within a few hours after a C-section and may even not be separated at all after vaginal birth. Practices such as delayed cord-clamping and delayed bathing, early first contact, and constant rooming-in are more common and routine here, as compared with the public hospitals’ practices. Mothers also like the general convenience of the hospital: new building, new furniture, and bathrooms. Some find it helpful that there is no long list of items that need to be bought for the hospital stay, unlike public hospitals.

Since Maichin Dom is a private hospital, all women pay for giving birth there, regardless of their health insurance status. If you are not insured, the price is higher.

At the time of writing this article, fathers or other birth companions are allowed at births and can be with the mother and baby for the whole duration of the hospital stay at an additional cost. A negative Covid-19 antigen test is required to enter.

Maichin Dom has an active birth room that can be rented. Waterbirth and water anesthesia is an option in this room. You can read the birth story of a Hungarian woman who gave birth in this room.


General remarks on giving birth in Varna 
Unfortunately, there are no birth centers in Varna. Neither is it legally possible to have an assisted home-birth in Bulgaria, so birthing options are limited to choosing between different hospitals.

Women in Varna often choose a specific doctor for their birth. This can give some guarantee that you will give birth with the support of a familiar person who will respect your priorities for the birth. Each hospital has a fee for this service. It is not possible to choose a midwife, so the one who is on duty will be with you for the birth.

Doula services and childbirth education classes in English аrе available in Varna. You can hire a doula for virtual or in-person support. For more information visit www.varna-birth-support.com/en.

If you are planning to breastfeed, expect to receive conflicting advice and information, regardless of which hospital you choose. Make sure you prepare in advance and know exactly how you would like your baby to be fed and handled. Attending quality childbirth and breastfeeding education classes and contacting local English-speaking La Leche Leaders in Varna or volunteer consultants from NAPK, Bulgaria’s breastfeeding support organization can be a huge help.

We hope the above can help you make an informed choice and begin your active preparation for welcoming the new addition(s) to your family! If you have any further questions our writer Yoanna Rachovska, 0885 210 764, www.facebook.com/varnabirthsupport is available to be contacted. If you would like to have your own birth story published in the Varna Birth Support blog, you can contact Yoanna as above. If you have already had your child and are looking for things to do with your newborn, check out our article here.