Information about the pregnancy process in Spain, how to get health insurance, learn about your benefits and rights and help for getting the best pre-natal and post-natal care
Someone who is not entitled to social health care has the option of getting private care, which requires paying a monthly fee for private coverage .
It might seem a bit daunting to get pregnant in Spain, especially if you’re not from here, don’t know the medical system or speak the language and, on top of having to deal with the usual issues of being pregnant, having to sort out the legal and logistical ones as well.
However, unlike many things in Spain, when it comes to being pregnant and having a child, things often run quite smoothly, especially if you’ve done a bit of research ahead of time.
The first thing to make sure you have, once you find out you’re pregnant, is health insurance. Nearly every one of the major health insurers in Spain have an 8 month exclusion period on births, which means that if you don't already have health insurance by the time you discover you're pregnant, it should probably be the next thing you do! That said, there are a couple of companies which do not have this exclusion. See our Semi-insider's Guide to Health Insurance - Pregnancy section here.
For Europeans, basic maternity services for unplanned pregnancies are indeed covered by an EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) at any public health facility in Spain; however planned birth is not covered by your EHIC (you are expected to go home)! Check with your social security and/or health insurance to make sure you’re fully covered. The Spanish Social Security system covers all Spanish nationals who reside and work in Spain, as well as foreigners with residence permits in Spain. Spanish nationals, who do not reside in Spain, are also covered under certain circumstances; protection also usually covers the entire family of the insured person.
As far as hospitals in Spain are concerned, there are both state-owned social security hospitals and private clinics throughout the country. Someone who is not entitled to social health care has the option of getting private care, which requires paying a monthly fee for private coverage . It’s a good idea, if you opt for the private health insurance and if you know you want to have a baby, to secure the insurance and have it in place at least ten months before becoming pregnant, just to simplify things.
There are a few places to look for private health insurance. But please, save yourself the time and energy of researching all of the companies and go to the only unbiased expat insurance quote system covering all of the top private health insurers in Spain – the SpainExpat Health Insurance Inquiry system (yes, we built this for you guys).
When it comes to finding a doctor in Spain, there are plenty of great obstetricians in Spain and the best way to find a reliable and credible one, is by word of mouth. Speak to people you trust, other mothers who have had children and ask them to recommend a doctor. You can also ask your General Doctor for some names. When the time comes to have the baby, if your Spanish isn’t necessarily up to par, it’s a great idea to bring someone with you to the hospital who speaks the language fluently, just in case. Most regions in Spain however, do provide translation services in the hospitals and clinics.
Births must be registered within eight days (but up to 30 days is accepted) at the local civil registry office (Registro Civil). It is the parents’ responsibility to ensure this is done and it must be carried out in person by a parent or direct family member. In some cases the hospital, clinic or midwife may register the birth.
The birth registration includes:
Birth certificates must state whether a child is legitimate or illegitimate. Children born within 180 days of their parent’s marriage or within 300 days of a divorce, a marriage annulment or the death of the father are considered legitimate.
A parent must take the following to the Civil Registry:
In this case, a declaration is required by both parents, with the father and the mother both registering the birth in person, providing the following documentation:
Spain has a pretty good system when it comes to Maternity leave, affording the mother 16 weeks of paid leave.
It’s important to note that post natal care in most Spanish hospitals is limited and the mother is usually released about 48 hours after giving birth, unless there are complications. It’s a good idea to secure some help at home for the first few weeks if possible, either by a registered nurse, a care taker or even a friend or family member if possible.
Spain has a pretty good system when it comes to Maternity leave, affording the mother 16 weeks of paid leave. In cases of multiple births, this period is extended to 2 more weeks for every newborn child. The mother’s position at work must be secured upon her return. Fathers are entitled to 15 days paternity leave (depending on their job). In 2015, however, this will be increased to 30 days. If there are complications for either the baby or the mother, the father is entitled to longer leave.
In order to encourage more mothers to have babies in Spain, the Spanish government adopted the ‘Cheque bebe’ program. Since April 2008, if you are a legal resident in Spain (ie: pay your taxes) mothers are now entitled to a 2500 Euro cheque from the government for either the birth or adoption of every newborn baby. The 2,500 euros increases to 3,500 in the case of families with three or more children and single-parent families. For more information about this system and the benefits check out this page from AEATS
Check out a few sites that can help connect you with others who are pregnant and get some more feedback and advice:
Useful Phrases to Know During Pregnancy: Midwife: matrona / comadrona Epidural: epidural (stress on "al") Scan: ecografía Maternity scan dept in hospital: tocología To give birth: dar a luz (literally "to give light") Birth: el parto To be x months pregnant: estar embarazada de x méses To breastfeed: dar el pecho
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