Giving Birth in Mexico
Know the options available to you when the time comes for the birth of your baby, and how to register the birth…
Delivery usually takes place in a maternity hospital, which can either be public or private. The mother must take all relevant information relating to her pregnancy with her to the hospital. Mothers must also bring everything they will need for their baby during the stay in hospital, for example, diapers, toiletries and blankets.
The amount of time a mother stays in the hospital after birth varies. For a birth with no complications, mother and baby may be discharged in less than 24 hours.
Public hospitals often induce labor and will opt for a Cesarean birth. More freedom is given to mothers in private institutions. There exists a growing network of doulas, midwives and obstetricians aiming to make natural births more common.
- Information on midwives and natural births
It is possible to have a water birth (parto en el agua) in Mexico, but it is not common. While individuals and organizations do exist that offer water births, it is advisable for an expectant mother to ask for more information from her chosen obstetrician.
- Parto Libre focuses on both natural and water births (in Spanish)
- Plentitud provides water birth options, as well a large source of information on natural births
Home births (parto en casa) are legal in Mexico, although the practice is not widespread.
Newborns in Mexico are vaccinated against hepatitis B and tuberculosis. Thereafter, it is recommended that children in their first year have monthly check-ups.
The Mexican government provides a vaccination calendar detailing age and dosage information for all vaccinations.
- Find a list of vaccinations in Mexico (PDF in Spanish)
Many Mexicans believe that the new mother should stay at home during the post-partum period (cuarentena) for a period of 40 days and may be surprised to see new mothers out and about with their newborn. Mexicans also love children and babies and it is not uncommon for strangers to touch and pat your baby when you're out and about.
Registering the Birth
Following the birth, the hospital fills out a form in Spanish with information about the mother only. The mother must provide her maiden name; that is, the name that appears on her birth certificate, and not her married name if she is married.
A child’s birth must be registered at a Civil Registry office (Registro Civil) and it is advisable to do this as soon as possible after the birth. This service is free of charge. The following documents are necessary:
- Form from the hospital
- Proof of identification and current visa of both parents
- Mother's birth certificate
- Marriage certificate, if applicable
- Copies of all of the above documents
- Find a list of Civil Registry offices in Mexico City
Once all the documents have been checked, the officials at the registry office put the baby's fingerprints on the documents. Ask for several copies of the official birth certificate (acta de nacimiento) as this will be required at many stages of the baby's life, for example school enrolment. In addition, two witnesses must be present, and they must bring proof of identity.
It is advisable to register the birth at the parent's embassy. The original birth certificate, marriage certificate (if applicable) and proof of identity of both parents is required. Other documents may be required, check with the relevant embassy.
Children born to foreign parents in Mexico are entitled to dual citizenship until they are 18. Once they turn 18 they must choose between one of the nationalities.