The Birth

Find out what your options are when the time comes for the birth of your baby in Panama…

While epidurals are the most common form of pain relief, local anesthesia and intravenous drugs are also available. Midwives are not used in Panama City; women are assisted by nurses, an obstetrician and their future pediatrician when giving birth. After delivery the pediatrician checks the baby and provide details on the baby's future check-ups.

The length of time spent in a hospital after birth depends on the type and ease of the birth. Complications during the birth can necessitate the mother and child staying in the hospital for an extended period. Typically, for a natural birth, the time spent in hospital is one to two days. For a cesarean birth the length of time is about three to five days. However, this is subject to change at the doctor's discretion.

Birthing Options

Home births are available; the majority of the population of Panama choose to give birth at home for financial reasons, however, this would be unusual in Panama City.

Alternative births are not common in Panama, although information can be obtained from an obstetrician. In Panama there are no facilities for a water birth in a hospital, but it can be done at home.

After the birth the hospital also administer primary vaccinations to the newborn.

Registration of the Birth

After the birth, the hospital registers the birth automatically with the Civil Registration Office (Registro Civil) of the Electoral Tribunal (Tribunal Electoral), where the record is held. There are no required documents other than identification of the parents in the form of passport, residency card (cedula), and two witnesses, who must be unrelated to the parents. The hospital provides the parents with the birth certificate.

If the baby is born at home the following documents should be taken to the Registro Civil of the Tribunal Electoral to register the birth:

  • Written statement signed by a witness at the birth
  • Signed letter from a doctor
  • Identification and proof of residency (these usually need to be notarized)

Maternity Leave

The law in Panama regarding maternity leave allows the mother three paid months off work. Typically this is divided into six weeks' leave before the due date and six weeks after the birth, although the mother has the option to take the leave on her own schedule. There is no law regarding when the employer must be told about the pregnancy.

Postnatal Care

There are numerous high quality doctors and pediatricians in Panama. A new born baby is expected to see a doctor for check-ups at least once a month for the first year of life. In the second year, visits should be made every three months.

Many families in Panama hire a nurse to attend to the baby after returning home. Locally, these are called "practicas" and will take care of the baby and all related tasks during the first few months.

Vaccinations

The vaccinations typically required by schools are Polio, Dyptheria, Tetanus, Pertussis, and MMR.