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Tumbit : Jo Green - Having a Baby in Spain

Jo Green, 34, has been living & working in Spain with her long term partner for 5 years. As a "Professional Career Woman" in the UK she always believed that being a Mum was something that happened to other women. However, on moving to Spain she has found herself succesfully managing a career and being a full time Mum to an unplanned (but much loved) Baby Daughter. Things in life change, things don't go to plan... Jo tell's how it's those that can and are willing to adapt to change that generally succeed in making a life in Spain.

First Steps
10 June 2010 @ 23:00

The moment that I had never really given much thought or preparation to had arrived - I had that "feeling" that I might be pregnant. My boyfriend was at work and the following day we were having guests to stay, so I thought it best to do the test straight away rather than wait another week.

My first thought was how to ask for a pregnancy testing kit in Spanish as our local pharmacy did not speak any English. Unfortunately the dictionary was not quite as detailed as I required and I found myself simply asking "Embarazada – Si or No?"

I am glad to say that my Spanish improved considerably throughout my pregnancy, but without the patience and understanding of my local pharmacy the whole experience could have been much more difficult (I can recall feeling as nervous as a teenage boy queuing for a packet of condoms as I stood in line to wait my turn!)

My next panic was how to read the instructions, but fortunately they were in English and very easy to follow, and one minute later it was confirmed - I was pregnant! I remember feeling ecstatic, nervous, scared and excited all in the same second. Lots of questions kept popping into my head, what do I do next? How will we cope? But ultimately will we have to move back to the UK?

After we both got back down to earth we decided the next logical step was to get it confirmed by our local "Family" Doctor in the Village. This in its self was daunting as I had never been before, so the next morning around 10.00am I called in to make an appointment, it was a scary building and looked more like a Spanish social centre for the elderly. I was told you have to turn up before 9.00am and put your name down on the list, the list is then collected at 9am and only the people with their name on the list can be seen by the doctor! I came back the next day 8.30am to put my name on the list, along with 12 other names and asked what time my appointment would be, only to be told the doctor normally arrives at 11ish, your name is 12th on the list so should be about 12ish.

Ok, I thought, I was warned that the doctor leaves at 1pm (or earlier if he has no patients) so I turned up at 12pm sharp to find that the doctor had still not arrived. The waiting room was full! - With no chance of me being seen that day and being told to try again tomorrow (Do they forget that some people actually have work to go to?) I put my name down at 8am and returned at 11am, after waiting for over an hour it was finally my turn, only to be told I need to see the midwife in the next Town up the road! (I was with the doctor for less than 10 seconds – and the receptionist could probably have told me the information that I needed – I can remember thinking that it could be possible that I would have had the Baby by the time I got as far as my first scan at this rate!

Fortunately from the moment I made my first appointment at the Clinic in the Town things flowed very smoothly. The Midwife was a very friendly, and understood my bad Spanish and helped me as much as she could (she did not speak any English, but why should she?), it was after my appointment with her when I felt a little more at ease with the Spanish medical system. We decided that I should continue with State Healthcare as long as I was happy, healthy and had no problems, and I am glad to say that although at times I felt very alone and craved an English speaking doctor, more than 2 years down the line I am glad I chose the Spanish system. I feel it has given me more confidence and after all Spain is our home now. We did consider private medical care (and since the Baby was born we have had Private Healthcare cover, but fortunately have had no need to use it) and I have friends who have recently had babies both privately and through the Spanish system, all have been happy with their decision. At the end of the day each person has to decide what is best for them and their unborn baby.

It seems that the quality of care varies greatly in Spain throughout the whole of the Healthcare industry depending upon where you live and which Hospital you choose (even which Doctors or Midwives you see) and this seems to be the case in both the State and Private systems. Find out which suits your and your Baby’s needs the best – ask around and even take time to visit the Health Centres and Hospitals in your area before you make a decision on how to proceed in having your baby in Spain.

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Morerosado said:
11 June 2010 @ 18:44

Really interesting, Jo, please continue blogging.

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