Dr. Ágnes Geréb was working in hospital as an obstetrician-gynaecologist for 17 years. In 1977, as a trainee obstetrician, she was the first in Hungary who allowed fathers to be present in the labour ward. At that time, it was forbidden for husbands, they were not allowed to be next to their wives and experience the birth of their child. When the managing professor became aware that Dr. Ágnes Geréb allowed fathers to be present at childbirths, he expelled her from the labour ward for half a year. Later, Dr. Ágnes Geréb worked out the conditions of the admission of husbands, and managed to get them to be accepted. At the Women's Clinic in Szeged, dr. Geréb and the doctors of the neonatal ward there introduced ‘rooming in’ together, which allows newborns to stay with their mothers (a common practice in Hungary today).
Dr. Geréb earned another degree in psychology in the '80s, because she deemed necessary to work in the adjoining territory of obstetrics and psychology. At her clinic, she was the first such specialist; nowadays, it is a common practice at almost all maternity wards to employ a psychologist.
In 1992, she organized an international conference on the topic of undisturbed childbirth, with 300 participants. The lecturers, who were professionals working with undisturbed childbirth, are still considered to be the greatest names even today, such as Michel Odent, Sheila Kitzinger, Marsden Wagner, Wendy Savage, and so on. Hungarian professionals (for example Sándor Bálint and István Rákóczi) were able to get acquainted with the theoretical questions and practical experiences of undisturbed childbirth at this conference. At that time, every woman in Hungary gave birth laid on her back, with her legs tied; they were given drugs automatically, and they were alone, nobody was allowed to be by their side. Dr. Geréb's purpose with the conference was for the Hungarian obstetrician and midwifery professions to get acquainted with women-centred childbirth and for midwifery to be revived.
Dr. Geréb founded the Alternatal Foundation, where she continued her educational work, organizing conferences, publishing books and making films. She regularly organized conferences in Hungary throughout the country, where she brought renowned foreign professionals, such as Ina May Gaskin, Marshall Klaus, so that Hungarian women, medical students, obstetricians, midwives, etc. may get to know the most recent methods and research results.
Dr. Geréb was the one who introduced the doula practice in Hungary. She had involved doulas at childbirths since 1994, and has regularly launched doula trainings. Today, the help of doulas is recognized, supported and acknowledged at both hospital- and home births.
Dr. Geréb's aim was to provide proper training for professionals working with home births, so she took steps to include studies on home birth at midwife trainings, which became common practice today.
Dr. Gereb had been trying to achieve the acceptance / adoption of the home birth method since her first involvement at a home birth in 1989, and the establishment of its statutory framework. She regularly visited the subsequently ruling governments, and she was applying for permits at the relevant authorities – at KÖJÁL (Public Health and Epidemic Station), then at ÁNTSZ (National Public Health and Medical Officer Service), at ministries, etc. She also participated in the preparation of the regulation on home births in Hungary: she was present at related ministerial consultations until October, 2010.
In 2011, when – following the enactment of the home birth regulation – the midwife communities started to work, all the midwives were Geréb's disciples, with the single exception of one.
The birth rate is clearly increasing if childbirth is an uplifting experience.
Undisturbed childbirth has a physical and mental health preservation role.
Women, who choose undisturbed childbirth based on attained information, know the benefits of breastfeeding and continue to breast-feed for longer.
It is scientifically proven that long-term breastfeeding reduces breast cancer, which is considered a widespread disease in Hungary.
It is not yet proven, but is logical that those women, whose orifice of the uterus is left unharmed by the lack of interventions and examinations during childbirth, are more protected against cervical cancer, that is also considered a widespread disease in Hungary, as one of the proven risk factors for cervical cancer is the injury to the orifice of the uterus.
Dr. Geréb's lifework has had an effect also in the significant improvement of the quality of in-hospital obstetrics. Not only by the changes initiated during her 17-year practice at the Women's Clinic in Szeged, but also by the recognition and support of Hungarian women's needs, which helped the process that resulted in dignified hospital birth becoming an expectation of the society. She was brave and pioneering: she made untrodden paths passable for millions of people. She was engaged in a niche, suppletory activity. She was able to achieve and generate changes on a societal level.