A picture of a baby

Frequently asked questions about the Finnish maternity package

How many different items altogether are there in the maternity package? How is the maternity package programme funded? Is the maternity package available commercially?

How many different items altogether are there in the maternity package?
There are altogether about 50 items. This varies slightly from year to year.

What is its cash value?
The nominal cash value is EUR 170.

What material is the box made of, and what are its dimensions?
The box is made of recycled corrugated cardboard. Its dimensions are 700 x 428 x 270 mm.

How is the maternity package programme funded?
Like all social benefits, the maternity package is tax funded.

Is the maternity package available commercially?
No, it’s not. The maternity package is tax funded and part of the Finnish social security system, which means that making it available commercially would not be legal.

Why can’t fathers get it? Why is it called a maternity package?
The law limits the eligibility for the maternity package to women. It is designed to promote the health and well-being of the mother and the child.

How often does a new version come out?
A new version is introduced annually in the spring as soon as existing stocks have been used up. The exact timing of the changeover depends on the number of applications received and the number of applicants who choose the maternity package rather than the cash benefit.

Are all of the products made in Finland, and if not, why not?
Not all of the items are made in Finland. Decisions concerning the content of the maternity package are governed by the Act on Public Procurement, which requires all suppliers to be treated equally, without respect to the country of manufacture or the country in which the supplier is based.

Would it be possible to have different packages for boys and girls?
No, because the package is designed in a way that makes it suitable for all babies. Also, that would mean that the number of items ordered would be smaller, which would have a cost impact. Applications for the maternity package must be made at least two months before the the baby is due, and not all parents wish to know beforehand whether their baby is a girl or a boy.

Do you make changes to the maternity package based on user feedback?
Yes, we do. We take into consideration our customers’ ideas and opinions when putting together the maternity package. We also receive feedback from suppliers. All feedback is studied closely and presented to the maternity grant advisory council for further review. The council can choose to hear other experts before making its decision.

Why does the maternity package include condoms?
This is because it is possible for mothers to conceive as soon as a few weeks after childbirth, and because condoms have not only contraceptive but also anti-infective properties.
They are good contraceptive to use before the post-delivery check-up, and are also recommended to be used as long as the mother continues to breastfeed.

How are the items included in the maternity package selected?
The contents of the maternity package are decided by an advisory council with members from within and outside Kela. It decides each year what goes into the maternity package. The council selects the items based on received bids, taking into account the feedback from users. It also tests the items.

For more information on the products included in the maternity package and the bidding process, see Kela’s website.

How can suppliers join the bidding?
Kela invites bids from suppliers annually. For example, bidding for the 2019 edition of the package commenced in autumn 2017. To join the bidding, suppliers must submit a formal bid and provide product samples.

For more information on the products included in the maternity package and the bidding process, see Kela’s website.

What was the original motivation for the maternity package?
The first maternity package boxes were distributed in 1938, one year after the enactment of the Maternity Grants Act. The Act was prompted by concerns over child mortality and lower fertility rates. At first, only families of small means were entitled to a maternity package.

For more information about the history of the maternity package, see Maternity Package website and Kela’s website.

How has the maternity package changed over the years?
The maternity package has kept up with the times and has always included items for both the mother and the baby. The first maternity package boxes were distributed in 1938. Early on, the box included patterns and fabrics that could be used to sew clothes for the baby.

Kela has been responsible for the maternity package since 1994. While the basic elements have stayed the same, the maternity grants advisory council each year considers what changes are needed.

Pictures of previous editions of the maternity package can be found on Kela’s website.

Has the maternity package programme succeeded in decreasing child mortality in Finland? What other consequences have there been?
The maternity package programme has decreased child mortality indirectly. Right from the beginning, one of the conditions for receiving a maternity package was for the mother to undergo a prenatal check-up before the end of the fourth month of pregnancy. This has helped to ensure that expecting mothers see a healthcare provider early on in their pregnancy. Read more on Maternity Package website.

Other possible consequences are difficult to measure.

Has any other country adopted a similar programme?
In recent years, the maternity package programme has attracted significant interest outside Finland. Around 30 countries, including Canada, the United States, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, have trialled similar initiatives. For more information, see Maternity Package website.