Pregnant People 'Can't Give Birth' on This Remote Island Near North Pole

A video has gone viral on TikTok after a woman shared that people living in Svalbard, a cluster of islands close to the North Pole, must leave a month before their due date to give birth.

Cecilia Blomdahl lives in Svalbard on the island of Spitsbergen and documents her day-to-day life on her TikTok, Instagram and Youtube to an audience of millions. She told Newsweek in an email that her initial intention was to work on the island for a few months, but six years later she's still there and loving it.

In the video posted last week, Blomdahl responded to a comment from a previous video showcasing the island's hospital. She explains that the hospital was built in 1991and is equipped to handle basic needs. For any emergency needs, she says, patients would be sent to Norway on an ambulance flight.

Svalbard resident, Cecilia Blomdahl
A video has gone viral on TikTok after Svalbard resident, Cecilia Blomdahl, shared that residents are not able to give birth on the island. Blomdahl lives on the remote island with her dog, pictured, and boyfriend. Courtesy of Cecilia Blomdahl

"Do women have home births there a lot then? Or do they just plan to fly somewhere close to their due date lol," the comment on the video read.

Blomdahl explains in the video that people who are pregnant must make arrangements to leave the island one month before their due date.

She told Newsweek in an email that while giving birth on the island would not be "illegal," hospitals send expectant parents to the mainland due to lack of resources.

"...since you have to fly to the mainland, the airline rules regarding travel when pregnant are applicable, so the latest [one] month before your due date you have to leave," she said in an email. "There are no home births as that is strongly advised against because it would put mother and child in danger."

Airline policies for pregnant passengers can vary.

Blomdahl says that as a resident of Svalbard people must have an address on the mainland so people usually return to their home country for birth.

Foreign residents, she said, are able to give birth in Norway.

People are responsible for finding their own accommodations, she says, but that along with the birth itself would be covered by healthcare

She told Newsweek that aside from the absence of childbirth on the island, there are other things particular to her home island that might seem a bit different.

She says because she lives outside of the main settlement, Longyearbyen, whenever she leaves the house to walk her dog she must carry a shotgun for polar bear protection.

There is also a law, she says, that residents must be self-sufficient, both financially and physically, in order to live on the island. If not, the government will pay for a plane ticket home.

Longyearbyen settlement
Cecilia Blomdahl has lived on Svalbard for over six years. Above, a stock image shows colorful houses in the Longyearbyen settlement on the island of Spitsbergen, Svalbard. Leamus/Getty Images

People are also not able to be buried on the island due to the fact that the ground is "permanently frozen."

"But because of the law of being [self sufficient] we have no retirement homes, homeless people or elderly," she wrote. "So we have very little deaths here, only from accidents like avalanches or perhaps the unfortunate polar bear incident."