The Birth of your Newborn

Find out what your options are when the time comes for the birth of the baby, plus details on newborn examinations, vaccinations and discharge from hospital…

Although it is seldom possible to choose a particular unit at a public hospital, these hospitals tend to offer a very high standard of care, with emergency personnel services readily available.

When choosing a delivery unit the following should be considered:

  • Which unit has the highest safety record
  • Whether there is an obstetrician resident in the unit 24 hours a day
  • Whether there are facilities for intensive neonatal care
  • The caesarean section rate
  • The methods of pain relief available

In the private sector, the chosen obstetrician may only deliver in one particular unit. This would limit choice. 

Note
: When opting for a private clinic, establish what happens in the case of premature birth - the majority of private clinics do not cater for delivery before 36 weeks, as most premature infants need specialised 24 hour care.

Most hospitals and clinics, whether public or private, follow a fairly standard birthing routine during labour, although practices can vary from place to place. The option of natural births is not readily available, and an epidural is the most common form of pain relief. Labour is commonly sped up with the use of Oxytocin and women can expect to give birth in the lithely position, unless otherwise discussed with the midwife.

After the Birth

Following a normal delivery, expect to stay in hospital (private and state-owned) for up to three days. This allows time for at least two paediatric checks on the newborn.

In the case of a caesarean delivery, expect to stay in the hospital for up to five days. It is important that there is also a family member around, as the mother will need help tending to the newborn.

On discharge from hospital, mother and baby have a final examination and the mother has a scan. The mother is given a yellow form to be used to register the birth and an infant record book, which will be the child's health record from birth to 18 years of age.

Vaccinations

The following vaccinations are recommended: tetanus, diphtheria, whooping cough, (Difteria, tétano, tos farina), Haemophilus B (Haemophilus influenzae tipo B), MMR (Sarampión, paperas, rubeola) TB (BCG), Meningitis. Note that the immunisation policy may vary in the different autonomous regions of Spain.

At one week of age the baby has a blood test to determine if there are genetic disorders. This test is sent away for analysis and takes up to 14 days for the results to be returned. This test is only done in state-owned hospitals.

Home Births

Home births are becoming more common in Spain. They are not covered by the public health system and there are currently no private health insurance packages which cover home birth.

  • Barcelona Birth's blog offers more information on home births in Spain, as well as details on births in hospitals and clinics

 

After the Birth

Following a normal delivery, it is common amongst both private and state-owned clinics to stay in hospital for up to three days, up to five days in the case of a caesarean delivery. This allows time for at least two paediatric checks on the newborn. It is important that there is also a family member around, as the mother will need help tending to the newborn. On discharge from hospital, mother and baby have a final examination and the mother has a scan. The mother is given a yellow form to be used to register the birth and an infant record book, which will be the child's health record from birth to 18 years of age.

Vaccinations

The following vaccinations are recommended: tetanus, diphtheria, whooping cough, (Difteria, tetano, tos farina), Haemophilus B (Haemophilus influenzae tipo B), MMR (Sarampion, paperas, rubeola) TB (BCG), Meningitis. Note that the immunisation policy may vary in the different autonomous regions of Spain.

At one week of age the baby has a blood test to determine if there are genetic disorders. This test is sent away for analysis and takes up to 14 days for the results to be returned. The test is only done in state-owned hospitals.

With contributions by Dawn Blythe S.R.N. R.M. (UK), a British trained midwife who has worked with expatriate communities worldwide. Currently with The English Medical Clinic, Albir Tel: 966 868 013 / e-mail