The Birth

Know the options available to you when the time comes for the birth of your baby…

Generally, delivery takes place in a maternity hospital and usually by mid-wife (sage femme). Parents should find and reserve a hospital place long in advance. If a private hospital or clinic is chosen, there may not be full reimbursement by state health insurance. Parents may request that the birth is performed by the gynaecologist - this will affect where the birth may take place. Generally, a hospital stay lasts three days. Epidurals (péridurale) are happily given.

Home births

Home and natural births are not common in France. While they can be arranged, it may be difficult as a result of various administrative and insurance reasons: the health and security of the baby and mother are of primary importance, and even though statistics show that there is little difference in the mortality rate between home and hospital births, there is the chance of prosecution for those in attendance if something goes wrong in a home birth. This is under the legal responsibility of non-assistance à une personne en danger meaning that someone not helping a person in danger and will face prosecution - this is a serious offence in France. Even so, home births are becoming more sought after, so things could change in the future and the gynaecologist may be able to advise. A home birth is reimbursed by social security, but not at the rate of 100 percent as in a hospital or clinic birth. In Paris, the Alpes-Maritimes (06) and Var (83), there are some English-speaking doctors as well as midwives able to perform homebirths or, in the case of Paris, provide a personalised birth in a Birthing Centre attached to a hospital. Doulas de France is a French association of Doulas (birthing assistants, or partners). The website has an English section which explains the association and the role of the birthing partner providing support to the woman in labour and the attending mid-wife. La Leche League is an international mother support organisation which promotes breastfeeding and provides guidance and support. La Leche League France (LLLF) has two English-speaking groups, one in Paris and one in the south of France, holding regular meetings in English. Lactation Consultants do home visits to mothers having breastfeeding difficulties.

EU nationals

Legislation allows that an EU citizen resident in France with French medical insurance may have the delivery in their home country. Expenses are reimbursed.