Giving Birth in Portugal

Find out about the birth options available in Portugal...

Through the National Health System, birth usually takes place in the hospital or maternity centre of the area of residency unless otherwise requested by the accompanying practitioner.

Home births are not available though the National Heath System and are the exclusive responsibility of the parents, who should find a doctor and midwife themselves. Alternative methods, such as water births, generally referred to as Bionascimento are not widely available; currently there are only two hospitals that provide such services: Hospital de São Bernardo (Setúbal) and Hospital São João (Oporto). Natural childbirth, also called non-medical childbirth (parto não medicalizado) - where birth takes place in the hospital or maternity clinic but without use of medical techniques - is experiencing an increase in popularity in Portugal. It is obviously only permitted for healthy pregnancies.

Unless there are complications during birth, an additional person is allowed in the operating room with the mother (usually the partner, a family member or a friend).

Further information on non-traditional birth methods can be found on the websites of some associations such as Doulas de Portugal (a doula is a midwife) or Humpar, the Portuguese Association for the Humanisation of Childbirth (Associação Portuguesa Pela Humanização do Parto).