Are you pregnant and thinking of having your baby in Spain? Perhaps it is unpractical to go back to your country of origin to give birth, or perhaps most of the family you want by your side is already here. In any case, there is absolutely no need to worry: here is a guide for a foreigner giving birth in Spain.
Firstly, a reassuring thought: not only is Spanish healthcare famous for being one of the best, but its doctors and nurses are also renowned worldwide for their training and expertise. Childbirth can always be a bumpy ride, for one reason or another, and it is only natural to worry about it all going perfectly, especially if you feel uneasy that you are not in your own country.
Giving birth with the National Healthcare System
If you are a legal resident working in Spain, then you are entitled to public healthcare. Discover the differences between public and private healthcare in Spain. If you choose to give birth in a public hospital, you will generally have a local hospital assigned, except in the case of going into labor far away or yours not having enough room. All public hospitals will take you in case of such emergencies. This is what it will be like:
- You will get three ultrasounds during the pregnancy.
- The good side of a Social Security hospital is that it usually is better equipped and the resources are better. They usually have an anesthetist and a gynecologist no matter what
- They are said to perform less C-sections than in private hospitals.
The downsides of giving birth in a public hospital
- Attention will not be as personal –it is most likely that the doctor who helps you deliver your baby will not be the same who took care of your pregnancy. You will mainly be with the midwife, and the doctor will come if there are complications or special methods are needed.
- The protocols are stricter concerning procedures, visits, special requests, your own birth plan, etc.
- You will probably have to share a room.
- Because nurses are very professional and well-prepared, they are usually used to all sorts of hard situations: they can be kind and incredibly attentive, of course, but they will also be straightforward and efficient. They are doing their best for your own good, so be kind to them even if they seem tough!
Giving birth with private healthcare
If you have a private insurance or prefer to pay for a private hospital, there are also many factors to consider. You can choose the hospital you want to go to.
- You will also get three ultrasounds during pregnancy, with the possibility of asking for a 3D one.
- Private hospitals have a wider range of professionals to choose from, and you can ask for a particular doctor, and even change specialists if you are not comfortable or want a second opinion.
- The doctor that takes care of your pregnancy will also be there to deliver your baby, typically with a team of four other people: a midwife, an assistant, an anesthetist, and a neonatologist.
- You can expect a shorter wait for results and appointments, and visits are usually allowed at any time.
- You will be able to have your own room, sometimes even a suite.
- Private hospitals usually offer other services like a photographer, religious services, and even hairdressers.
The downsides of private hospitals in Spain
- They may have the need to redirect you to a public hospital for special tests, since they can have better equipment. Other emergencies or complications may also incur in redirecting you to a public hospital that has the necessary human and technical resources.
- You will have to bring with you a suitcase with anything the baby might need (diapers, clothes, toiletries, etc.)
- The number of C-sections performed in private hospitals is also higher than that of public hospitals, but this is also due to private hospitals being more accommodating to mothers’ petitions when they want to set a specific date for the birth of their babies.
General advice for a foreigner giving birth in Spain
- What about giving birth at home? Having your baby at home is quite rare in Spain, and it is not covered by the public system. Its approximate cost can be of around 2,000€, but there are options of finding midwifes that will help you through this if you really want to do it.
- Even if your Spanish is very good, and even if you consider yourself bilingual, having a native by your side to help you communicate with the hospital staff is highly recommendable. There can be chaotic moments and many bilingual mothers have admitted to forgetting Spanish or finding it hard to think in a second language.
- Gas or air are not allowed in Spanish hospitals, but epidurals and pethidine are available.
- This is Spain… there will be paperwork. Get information on the paperwork you will need when your baby is born. You will find some more information about this here at Typical Non Spanish.
- Talk to other mothers to hear recommendations on good, trustworthy doctors.
Caser Expat Insurance offers a good coverage for foreigners giving birth in Spain, so that you can have a proper preparation for childbirth, pregnancy monitoring, post-partum assistance at home, and 24-hour pediatric support.
If you want to be further informed, Typical Non Spanish has prepared more information on the cost of the birth process in Spain, so you can be ready to face it and only worry about your baby’s well-being. Discover the guide below: