Postnatal Care

Find out about postnatal care for you and your newborn baby in France, with details of the compulsory vaccinations in France…

The Health Record of the Child

A health record (carnet de naissance de l'enfant) is issued by the hospital, doctor or town hall after the birth of a baby. This notebook must be taken to every medical consultation the child has until they are 18 years of age. The medical examiner will enter the details of any procedure. This provides a record of full medical history. There are 20 compulsory medical visits for children up to the age of six.

Postnatal care in France

The postnatal period (période post-natale) involves examinations for both you and your baby. The baby is examined in the first week and then nine further times in the first year, three during second, and two during each of the next years up to the sixth birthday. Of these exams, three contribute to a "certificate of good health" - the first week, ninth month and 24th month. A check-up with a midwife or gynaecologist takes place eight weeks after delivery.

Local health care centres for the Protection Maternelle et Infantile (PMI) also provide clinic services for mother and child, and these are generally free of charge. The staff perform the basic postnatal checks, provide advice, and help on issues such as nutrition and breast feeding. They are also permitted to administer the vaccinations. Mothers may also be prescribed and reimbursed for postnatal physiotherapy. 

Service Public has more on compulsory medical examinations

Vaccinations

The health record also acts as a certificate of vaccinations. The doctor or clinic signs, dates and declares the vaccinations given. Since January 1 2018, the following 11 vaccinations are compulsory for children under the age of 2:

  • Diphtheria, Tetanus, Polio DTP  - given in one vaccination with 3 compulsory injections at monthly intervals from the age of 2 months 
  • Haemophilius influenzae Type B – against the bacteria responsible for meningitis, pneumonia, and other serious infections
  • Whooping cough (la coqueluche)
  • Hepatitis B (l’hépatite B)
  • Measles (la rougeole)
  • Mumps (les oreillons)
  • Rubella (la rubéole)
  • Meningococcal C – against the bacteria responsible for certain meningitis (méningocoque C)
  • Pneumococcal – against the bacteria responsible for meningitis, pneumonia and sepsis (le pneumocoque)

Note: These vaccinations are compulsory and parents or legal guardians can be fined for not vaccinating their children.

The BCG for tuberculosis is recommended but not compulsory.

The government health department has more information on vaccinations (in French)