My first pregnancy in 2018 was an emotional rollercoaster. As a first-time mom, I was excited, but also filled with fears and uncertainties. I worried about whether I was doing everything right and constantly second-guessed myself. Being far away from family and friends made the experience even more challenging. And to top it off, I was giving birth abroad.
Lorrayne Peri during her 2nd pregnancy in Bali
But despite all the worries, giving birth abroad was actually a very easy experience for me. I had the opportunity to travel to various countries during my pregnancy, including my home country of Brazil, my partner's home country of Germany, and the US, in total, I went to 25 countries. But the time to nest arrived, and I ultimately chose Malaysia as the place to give birth to my daughter, Ella, due to its infrastructure, affordability, and location within Asia.
Fast-forward to 2021, and I was getting ready to give birth to my second child, Liv. But this time around, things were different. The world was facing a global pandemic, and restrictions were in place everywhere. Giving birth abroad now posed new challenges and concerns.
There are several things that you should know before embarking on this journey. From my own experience, I have compiled a list of some important things to consider. So here we go - Giving birth abroad: 03 things you should know.
Check the Healthcare System
Giving birth abroad can be a unique and exciting experience, but it's important to carefully consider the healthcare system in the country where you plan to give birth. While many countries offer high-quality healthcare for expecting parents, there may be cultural, language, or logistical differences to navigate. Here are some factors to consider when evaluating a healthcare system for giving birth abroad:
Language and Cultural Barriers
When giving birth abroad, language and cultural barriers can be a significant consideration. It's important to ensure that healthcare providers speak your language fluently and are culturally sensitive to your needs. Additionally, understanding the cultural norms and expectations surrounding childbirth can help you navigate the healthcare system more effectively.
Access to Prenatal Care
Prenatal care is essential for ensuring the health and well-being of both the mother and the baby. When evaluating a healthcare system abroad, it's important to consider the accessibility and quality of prenatal care. This includes the availability of healthcare providers, the frequency of appointments, and the level of support provided.
Options for Giving Birth
Different countries may have different options for giving birth, including hospitals, birthing centers, or home births. It's important to evaluate the options available and ensure that they align with your preferences and values. Additionally, it's important to consider the availability of medical interventions, such as epidurals or cesarean sections.
Quality of Care
The quality of care provided by the healthcare system is an important consideration. This includes factors such as the qualifications and experience of healthcare providers, the availability of necessary medical equipment, and the level of support provided during labor and delivery. Additionally, it's important to understand the healthcare system's policies and practices regarding pain management, breastfeeding, and postpartum care. I had a great experience in both labors. I had 2 c-section and the doctors were super friendly and followed my birth plan.
The period following childbirth is a critical time for both the mother and the baby. Adequate postpartum care is essential for ensuring a healthy recovery and a smooth transition into parenthood. When evaluating a healthcare system abroad, it's important to consider the availability and quality of postpartum care, including support for breastfeeding, mental health, and physical recovery.
The cost of healthcare can be a significant consideration when giving birth abroad. It's important to understand the cost of prenatal care, labor and delivery, and postpartum care within the healthcare system. Additionally, it's important to consider the availability of insurance coverage or other financial assistance programs.
In conclusion, giving birth abroad can be a rewarding and memorable experience, but it's important to carefully evaluate the healthcare system in the country where you plan to give birth. By considering factors such as language and cultural barriers, access to prenatal care, options for giving birth, quality of care, postpartum care, and cost, expecting parents can make informed decisions and ensure a safe and positive birthing experience for both the mother and the baby.
Image by Vinta Supply Co. | NYC
If you're planning to give birth abroad, it's important to consider the documentation you'll need to apply for your newborn's documents, such as a birth certificate and passport. Different countries may have different requirements for documentation, so it's important to do your research and ensure that you have everything in order before giving birth abroad. Here are some important documents that parents should have to apply for newborn documents:
A birth certificate is a legal document that contains information about the baby, such as their name, date and place of birth, and parents' names. In some countries, a birth certificate may be required to apply for a passport or other documents. Make sure you understand the requirements for obtaining a birth certificate in the country where you plan to give birth.
A passport is a travel document that is necessary for international travel. In most cases, a passport is required to travel back to your home country with your newborn. Make sure to apply for a passport for your newborn as soon as possible, as it can take several weeks or even months to process.
If you're married, you may need to provide a marriage certificate to apply for your newborn's documents. This document verifies that you are the legal parents of the baby.
In some countries, you may be required to provide proof of your baby's immunizations to obtain certain documents, such as a passport. Make sure you have your baby's immunization records with you when you apply for documents.
Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA)
A Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA) is a document issued by the US Department of State that serves as proof of US citizenship for a child born abroad to a US citizen parent or parents. If you're a US citizen and give birth abroad, you'll need to apply for a CRBA for your newborn.
Other Required Documents
In addition to the above documents, there may be other documents required to apply for your newborn's documents. For example, you may need to provide proof of your address or income. Make sure to research the requirements for applying for newborn documents in the country where you plan to give birth.
Giving birth abroad can be a challenging and daunting experience, especially if you're far away from your support system. It's important to establish a support system before giving birth abroad to ensure that you have the emotional and physical support you need during this important time. Here are some ways to establish a support system when giving birth abroad:
Research and connect with local resources
One of the first things you should do is research and connect with local resources in the country where you plan to give birth. This can include hospitals, midwives, doulas, and support groups for expats. These resources can provide you with valuable information and support during your pregnancy and birth.
by cottonbro studio
Hire a doula
A doula is a trained professional who provides emotional and physical support to women during pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum. Hiring a doula can provide you with additional support and guidance during this time.
Stay connected with family and friends
Even if you're far away from your family and friends, it's important to stay connected with them during this time. Video calls and messaging apps can help you stay connected and receive emotional support from your loved ones.
Join local expat groups
Joining local expat groups can provide you with a sense of community and support. You can connect with other expat parents who have gone through the same experience and can offer advice and support.
Consider hiring a private nurse or midwife
If you're giving birth in a foreign country where you don't speak the language or aren't familiar with the healthcare system, hiring a private nurse or midwife can provide you with additional support and guidance during your pregnancy and birth.
Take care of yourself
Taking care of yourself is crucial during this time. Make sure you're eating well, staying hydrated, and getting enough rest. It's also important to take time for yourself and practice self-care to reduce stress and anxiety.
In conclusion, establishing a support system is crucial when giving birth abroad. By researching and connecting with local resources, hiring a doula or private nurse, staying connected with family and friends, joining local expat groups, and taking care of yourself, you can ensure that you have the emotional and physical support you need during this important time. Remember, giving birth abroad can be a challenging experience, but with the right support system, you can navigate this journey with confidence and ease.
Giving birth abroad: 5 things you should know