Well hello to everyone – thanks for all the emails and comments. I’m fine and fully recovered from the caesarian operation and this is the first time I’ve had a chance to write a new blog since Thomas was born.
Thomas was born at 3.50 am on 15th Septmeber. He weighed a healthy 4 kilos 70 grams when he was born (not 4 kilos 750 grams as posted on the previous blog!).
It’s great being a mother and Thomas is the best baby ever – it’s a wonderful experience and nothing you can really imagine till it happens.
Labour was induced as I had gone a week over my due date and had already started dilating. Everything started well I was taken to a room with my partner at 10am – there was a bed in one half and the delivery table in the other half. There were 2 midwives to look after me who were very nice.
I wasn’t in any pain at all for the first few hours before the epidural thanks to my Tens machine which I hired from Mothercare in the UK.
The midwives were very interested in it as they had read about Tens but never seen one. The machine really worked for me and when I had contractions I hardly felt any pain at all. I’d definitely recommend it to anyone planning to give birth here. The only method of pain relief available in hospitals for childbirth in this part of Spain is the epidural.
I was given the epidural quite early on even though I wasn’t in pain which was suprising. Even though I ‘d had the epdural the last 10 hours of labour were extremely painful because the midwives didn’t top it up enough – I’m not sure why…nothing was really explained to me. Another thing that happened was that because my labour was so long the midwives changed. Whereas the first midwves introduced themselves the new ones didn’t bother.
In one email somebody asked if it’s necessary to be able to speak Spanish or have someone with you who speaks Spanish during labour and the answer is in my opinion definitely yes. You really need to know what’s going on and to be able to communicate with the medical staff.
Finally after many hours of painful contractions I was rushed to surgery for an emergency caesarian.
I can remember quite a lot – I didn’t feel any pain – it felt like the doctors were rumaging around in my stomach. I heard Thomas cry when he was lifted out and then the doctors showed him to me – after that I everything seemed to blur but I remember being taken to the recovery room feeling wonderful and sleeping off the effects of the anaesthetic.
Then I was taken to my room where my partner and mother (who arrived earler that day) were waiting.
Shortly afterwards the nurses brought in baby Thomas and I held him in my arms for the first time which was the most wonderful, amazing moment.
Reflecting on my experience of giving birth in a Spanish hospital I have to say it was disappointing – I probably wouldn’t choose to give birth here again. Apart from anything else the cultural differences make the whole process a lot more difficult (not to mention the lack of choice in pain relief).
The stay in hospital was not a pleasant experience for various reasons. Other mothers from my antenatal class also said that the level of care in the hospital was very poor. Yesterday I met another English woman with a baby just 2 weeks younger than Thomas we got round to discussing childbirth here, apparently her labour had not been that bad but before I even mentioned the hospital she said that her stay in hospital here was awful!
My husband and I are planning our next few trips to SPain. I am finishing a college degree and working in the Entertainment Industry in California. My schooling requires that I work in SPain in order to complete my degree. We love SPain and intend to retire there. With all of that said.. We were hoping to have a baby there. The timing for us would be perfect in about a year, and we heard there were good incentives to buy property and have babies in Spain. Is this true? Regardless we hoped to be there for the last part of my pregnancy, but after hearing some of the horro stories.. I am unsure. Can you tell me what you know about how an American without living in SPain would go about having a baby there? We love the country & will settle there in our later years.Thank you for your help.
“Can you tell me what you know about how an American without living in SPain would go about having a baby there?”
Well, after reading your experience I can only say I’m sorry it was that terrible. But I still have a question: which hospital was that? because my experience was totally different. I am Spanish, live in Pamplona and had my two children there. Both times, all the doctors and nurses was very nice, kind and everything went fine. So I must say that having your child in Spain can either be a good or bad experience depending on which hospital and medical staff you choose.
Hope next time is better
Being a pregnant Spanish woman living in London, I have to say I am quite shocked by the comments you put on these blogs. The fact that your own experience was bad in Spain it does not mean it is bad to have a baby in Spain. Besides, you do not mention the Hospital where you were having treatment because you need to know that not all Hospitals are the same story and that applies to the UK as well of course.
I will mention that I have decided to go to Spain to give birth because having been in a private Hospital and a public Hospital during my antenatal care, I am quite disappointed about the service. Hence, we have decided to go to Santander for the delivery. This is for personal circumstances because I was born in Pamplona and the Hospitals there are excellent. Santander has an excellent Health system as well. The public hospitals there in particular are much better than any private Hospital in London. When I go to my appointments here they do not even weight me??… I have palpitations at the moment and the NHS Doctor only said: How long do they last?… When I said seconds he said then do not worry.. He did not even tell me why they would be happening.
I think that you are being quite unfair with your comments if you start generalising. My experience was bad in the UK but that does not mean the UK has a crap health system even though I say it a lot of the times!
For the person who is from California having the baby in Spain …the best would be to speak to people that had the baby in this hospital and find a good Doctor….I will be happy to help if you wish
I am a N American living in Spain. In Santander. I am also pregnant, although in very early stages. I would love any referrals you may have for public doctors and matronas in Santander. Thus far, I have been very unhappy with the public system. I have my first prenatal with my private gyno this week. He is fantastic. If anyone is here that wants to meet or speak and share info I would love to also. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks, Elizabeth
I can agree to some extent with your comments on the low organisational level and communication with the patients of the health system, at least in Alicante but not in Barcelona, for instance. What wouldn’t cross my mind to comment is if you need to speak Spanish or not to communicate with the doctors. And I’m not Spanish, but I live here, so I have to be able to communicate in Spanish, if not in Valencian arourd here. I suppose you wouldn’t expect a foreigner living in the UK (or whatever other country) to comment on the doctor’s foreign language skills during birth labour…
Yes I agree with the last comment I wouldn’t expect UK doctors to communicte in any other language either. The comment I made on speaking Spanish was a follow up to an email I received asking if Speaking Spanish was necessary in order to give birth in a Spanish hospital.
I’m a doctor, I live in London and I’m from Spain. I gave birth last year in a London hospital. I think that to your very personal blog it is only fair to add a few words.
Birth care, antenatal care, are very important matters. Different countries focus in different ways. For example, Madrid hospitals ( london equialent) would focus on prenatal diagnosis with a minimum three scans per pregnancy, adequate monitoring pre labor and decent wards for mother and baby to stay.
Uk, NHS care is very much focus on mother choice, which it is in essence a bit of a con as there is no money to fit that purpose. There are only two scans and it is unlikely that a doctors see you before you give birth, wherther you like it or not. There is a huge shortage of midwifes and it is very noticeable in every part of the care. The pathways are design to save money, not to rule out any reasonable doubt.
So if you are lucky and you delivery goes well, then you are faced with the horror movie of NHS postnatal wards. There is nothing worst than that. Toilet in the middle of the corridor. Coffe, or tea you get it yourself, baby if you are alone ask you nearest mother to lookafter it while you go to the loo…. It is so bad that it is shooking. I honestly cannot get over it. Sadly after checking a few other hopsital and collecting more than 100 experiences, there is no much difference.
Breastfeeding advice, well Uk wins. There is no comparison to the support and care the midwifes and health visitors toward breastfeeding. My sister just gave birth recently in Spain.
Pediatric check up and follow up. An SHO will check you baby after birth in the UK. That is someone who is not a pediatrician yet. Spain, most likely it will be the pediatrician although it can be the
SpR (senior to SHO).
LAter on you are stuck with your GP and health visitor for well baby check ups. In Spain, at least Madrid, the follow up is done by consultant pediatricians for everyone.
Inmediate home care. It is great to have the midwife to check you up at your own home. The health visitors are also very nice. That sort of care only exist in Spain for premature babies but nothing else.
In hindsight, i feel that childbirth is a different story for everyone. I found that comunication is what we are all looking forward when we are in such a tremendous moment of our lives.
I am now 16 weeks pregnant and I am really happy with my care so far. I had a few problems with bleeding in my first 3 months and the care at the hospital was wonderful.
I am concerned though as I keep hearing so many horror stories and it is my first baby.
You can have a baby in any private hospital. Your insurance should you have any will cover some or all of the main private hospitals.
If you do not have cover then you can pay. It is a huge sum of money. between 3 and 7,000 euros. Depending on the nature of your delivery.
You can only get the incentive money if you have been a registered citizen in Spain for 2 years. For that you need to be european… or maybe from argentina. Not sure on that one. American’s and other nationals do not have such entitlement.
You can live here but you cannot work unless sponsored. If your husband in european you will be in luck. You have the rights he has.
However like I said the 2,500euro gift requires you live registered for 2 years. Also child allowance or mothers money as it is called (100euros a month for first 3 years) is only given if you are working. So for example if you start to work 4 months after the baby arrives – then that is when you can apply for money.
Property market here has been bouyant for a long time. Everything is really pricey. However there are strong feelings it is about to crash. so it’ll be affordable again.
I had my baby in a state hospital in Palma de Mallorca. I waited a long time to go in as they tend to strap you to a bed pronto. Which is dickension.
Only epidural is available for pain. Nothing else.
They insist you wear monitors so you cannot get up.
You would find it very much better with some spanish.
I was at the most progressive hospital here. It was still way behind US and rest of europe… but attitudes are changing. My midwives were great.
I think a midwife delivery is better. They are not in any hurry to get to the next birth or dinner with the wife. They work to the end of the shift and then another comes. There are many many unnessecary c sections here… they say up to 15% are not needed. But the consultant was in a hurry.
There are private birthing centres on the mainland… they are up to speed. That is all I know of them.
hiya im 25wks pregnant and thinking about moving to spain this will be my 7th child so im not worried about the birth however i have questions is a homebirth possible in spain and is it easy to register a baby in spainas a spanish resident moving to spain means having a baby there would you advise i i stay in england till after the birth
Hi all, my wife is British and she just gave birth here in a public hospital in Vic, Barcelona Spain.
It was so nice all the way, I was there during the delivery process we had two midwifes to take care of her; we had a doctor and also an anesthetic doctor too to deliver the epidural.
My wife couldn’t speak Spanish hence I was explaining every thing to her.
At the end of the day every thing went fine, now we have a mid wife to look after her, a doctor too for her, a pediatrician for my son and a nurse for him too.
Sum all these together, you can see that we don’t have any reason what so ever to complain about. Spain is the place, just learn the language or go with one that speaks.
I am a Brit who has given birth in the Hospital General de Valencia. I speak perfect Spanish (many people don’t realise I’m a foreigner). The service was appalling. You are treated as a stupid individual with no say and no control over your own body. Both the doctors and the midwives were rude, unhelpful and uncommunicative. I had no pain relief options because it was the weekend there was no anaesthetist on duty to administer an epidural. Spanish policy in nearly every public (and most private hospitals) is the same: Oxitocine drip (even when compeltely unnecessary), strapped up to a foetal monitor, completely inhibiting the mother’s movement (and thus causing a more painful and slower labour), an episiotomy in 90+% of vaginal deliveries (way above the 15% recommended by the world health organisation). I was alone in the dilation room and again in the delivery room. There is only one possible position for giving birth – on your back, the most ilogical position possible.
Las españolas deben de consultar elpartoesnuestro.es e informarse mejor de le realidad de las maternidades en este país.
I had my baby three years ago in Palma de Mallorca in the main public hospital and it was bloody awful. Exactly as predicted they intervened at every possible moment, were rude, were agressive, i was left alone in a room for hours, with my husband prevented to join me in the room – he had to listen to me in labour but was not allowed to be with me. eventually i was given an epidural which they put in incorrectly and would not listen to me when i told them it was not having any effect, four hours later they finally realised the machine was not working and did it again. all of the time with the worst attitude possible. I’m not going to give you the whole story as it makes me so angry. Still. Three years on.
Some BIG changes have to happen to the health care system in Mallorca as there are so many modern maternity care has moved on from the dark ages. Women aren’t listened to or respected, our wishes aren’t taken into consideration at all. I am a tax payer and resident in Mallorca so I have just as much right as any other woman having a child, but I was treated so badly.
Grrr. It’s completely put me off having another child.
I moved to Palma de Mallorca Spain in October 2008 from the US because my Danish husband took a job there. I have my NIE number, but am not a legal resident yet (I hope to have my appointment to do so in the next month). We have one child and are planning to have another while living in Spain. If I get pregnant before I become a resident, will I still get covered under social security once I finally do become one? Would my husbands private insurance deny me coverage because the pregnancy will be considered a pre existing condition? I had a great birthing experience back in the US at Newport Hospital in RI, and after reading a lot of these comments, I'm starting to think I don't want a baby in Spain. Does anyone have any other comments on the hospitals in Palma good or bad, or have any other comments or advice?
I have been living in Spain for 21 years. I had my first child in Spain and my second in the UK.
I agree with the comment published by the Spanish doctor who works in England that Spain and the UK's approaches to childbirth are very different – personally I found good and bad things in both.
When I had my first child I paid for private checkups at a private clinic in order to have regular scans (about 80 euros per visit) but then had the baby in the local state hospital (San Juan, Alicante). Long labour, no epidural (they do offer that now, but only in some hospitals so check first), very loud room (until you are 8cm dilated you are not moved from your shared hospital room on the ward to a quieter delivery room) due to loud relatives of the woman I was sharing with who had just given birth. I didn't enjoy being shaved or having water pumped up my bum to avoid passing stools during labour. But apart from that, the attention received during labour although not exactly caring, was very professional. It turned out to be a difficult birth because my baby had the cord around his neck and after 12 hours labour I was given an emergency cesarean. It was all over very quickly and I wasn't taken out of the operating theater until I was awake enough to be given my baby and for us to be wheeled back to the ward together. As for post natal care, yes, it is helpful to have regular appointments with a specialised pediatrician and I was generally satisfied with the experience.
I had my second child in the UK because if you have a cesarean in Spain you are almost certain to have another one unless you have a mega-quick labour,(- where I live that is – apparantly in some areas like the Basque country cesareans are always a very last resort) which I didn't think I was going to have. So we moved in with my parents for the last month and I had my baby at Jessups hospital in Sheffield.
The hospital staff were certainly no more professional than their Spanish counterparts, but I did feel more cared for. I was in a room on my own – with family – with tea-making facilities, chairs etc. and a bath nearby if I wanted one. The midwives and nurses were brilliant, the epidural a blessing (once the student nurse got it in – her prodding around in my spine for what seemed like ages was the worst moment) and after 12 hours (again) my second baby was born. We only spent one night on the ward – there weren't any toilets in the corridors, there were tea, coffee and toast making facilities in case you got hungry, and I was able to go home the next morning. It was nice to get a home visit a few days after the birth, but I didn't really need one. I think the NHS could save some money by just providing that service to first-time mothers or to mothers or babies who need special care.
So I think each experience is different and both have pros and cons. In the UK the system is much more patient-friendly I think – it was nice to feel you had some choice in the birth options available – whereas the Spanish system tends to dictate what is going to happen and how. Having said that, long-term postnatal care is, I think, better and more specialised here in Spain.
I am a 21 year old Nursing student from Madrid. I'be just came across this website and decided to read all the comments about pregnancy and birth experiences at different hospitals in Spain since 2006!
I hope each one of you has already overcome the terrible experiences you have had during, especially the birth, in Spain.
I am personally happy to read both horrible and good experiences as it's an initiative in order to improve and never stop thinking about our first aim: the patients! But I am also pleased to know that during those last 6 years things have changed into better especially in the pain relief methods, birth methods, prebirth attention protocols at the hospitals and Midwifery. I think that the main problem Spain is still facing when it comes to the Healthcare system is the organization and distribution, lack of time and many duties to accompplish per shift. I also have to admit that the hospitals in Valencia have being so far the less qualified hospitals in whole Spain besides the lack of personal and equipment in the Canarian Islands. Palma de Mallorca for instance has achieved a lot in the last years besides Marvella. The most recommend are the Northern part of Spain, Madrid and Cataluña.