Last year, about 2,000 women in Stockholm county were sent to another ward to give birth after their first choice was full. That's an increase of about 15 percent from 2012. Hospitals can decline to accept patients when they are full but must find another bed at another facility for expectant mothers.
Those who can not give birth at the clinic of their choosing are sometimes referred to Stockholm's outer suburbs, such as Västerås, Uppsala, Nyköping and Eskilstuna. The highest number of referrals was at the Karolinska University Hospital in Solna, a northern suburb of Stockholm, who had to referred every seventh mom.
"It's because we are popular, centrally located and handle more complex cases, but also that we shut down the delivery room after water damage, from eleven to seven," said Åsa Wijkström, director of the hospital's women's clinic.
Wijkström said discussions are underway to better predict when a hospital might be overcapacity. She said a cap may be imposed on a maternity ward and expectant mothers would be told their choice could cause them to be referred.