Giving Birth Abroad

Monday, October 12, 2015




I generally don't talk about my personal life on here; however, I thought that sharing a bit of my experience giving birth abroad would perhaps help to prepare other mothers-to-be and perhaps take away some nerves. 

I was a bit nervous with the prospect of having a baby abroad, yet I really liked my gynecologist and had faith that she'd be great throughout. Also, there are tons of babies in Vilnius, so I figured that doctors had plenty of practice with delivery. (Obviously the amount of babies here clearly has to do with the skill level of the doctors...?)

My experience giving birth at the Baltic American Clinic was excellent. Now, I can't directly compare it with giving birth in the States, but here is what I experienced. At each doctor visit prior to giving birth I had an ultrasound. When I went into labor (well, when I was sure I was in labor) I headed straight to the clinic. In contrast to the US, the doctors here in Lithuania would rather you come right when you start contractions. While I was in labor my gynecologist was with me the whole time. With her was also the obstetrician, another gynecologist who happened to be on duty (and who I had previously met), an anesthesiologist, and towards the end, a pediatrician. After giving birth, my husband and I were allowed to stay in the clinic for ~72 hours, though we could have left earlier if we wanted. The food they served was delicious and wholesome. None of that nasty jello crap. Our last night they brought us a mini bottle of cava and two chocolates. Throughout our three days in the clinic after giving birth we had a midwife available 24 hours to help us in any way we needed, though I don't think we had the option for the baby to stay in a nursery had we wanted that. Everyone was incredibly helpful and kind throughout.



Get to know your doctor(s). If I didn't have confidence in my doctor I would have tried to find a new doctor. If I didn't like any of the doctors I would have wanted to give birth in the US. Luckily, my doctor was thorough.

Ask for a tour of the facilities. I didn't do this until pretty later on, but touring the facilities gave me a better picture of what was available. 

Don't feel silly about asking simple questions or for clarification. I asked a TON of questions. Though my doctor spoke English we occasionally had some miscommunications, so if I was unclear about something she said I'd rephrase my question and ask again. I felt a bit stupid asking my hoards of questions, but hey, it was my first time giving birth, so I figured that I was allowed to ask a million questions. (A question you may want to ask is if your husband/partner is allowed to be in the room when you give birth and if your husband/partner can stay in the hospital with you after giving birth. In China my friend's husband wasn't allowed in the room during the birth of his son.)

Don't expect to have the same care as your expecting friends at home. My friends in the US seem to have only had one or two ultrasounds throughout their pregnancy. As I said above, I had an ultrasound each time. I was also expected to head to the clinic when my contractions began.

Go with the flow. Things are going to be different than you expect sometimes. My doctor went on vacation pretty close to my due date. I should have taken my own advice here, but was pretty stressed out when I found out. Luckily she was back in time, but I should have not fretted so much over it. Go with it, but if you are concerned don't be afraid to ask and ask again! Your health and your baby's health is important!

Know what's available. Here in Lithuania working women who pay into social security are allowed three years of paid maternity leave (the amount paid decreases each year). Anytime during that three year span women are allowed to return to their company/institution, but may not have exactly the same job title, as they may have hired a replacement (even if the replacement is temporary). Pregnant women who have terrible morning sickness or a difficult pregnancy are also allowed to have doctors write them a note and to stay home from work. 








Please excuse the crappy photo quality. They were taken quickly with my phone, because... newborn. Also, if you have any questions or are a nervous mom-to-be feel free to send me an email.

6 comments:

  1. That is a great way to do maternity leave! x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know! The US really needs to revise their maternity leave. I can't believe that I'd have already been back at work for 2 weeks! He is too little for that!

      Delete
  2. Hurray for babies! :) It would be nice if we had more ultrasounds throughout pregnancy here in the states, but it is what it is, I guess. We toured our hospital last week and were very pleased with the services (the food!) and the level of care offered. Just wish I could hit the fast forward button through the next 11 weeks - I feel like I've been pregnant forever!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I liked the frequent ultrasounds. It was fun to see how he grew each month. I agree, it felt like I was pregnant forever. It is exhausting! I'm glad to hear that you toured your hospital and thought the food looked great! How long might you stay in the hospital for?

      Delete
  3. Wow - three years of paid maternity leave! I love that! I guess here in Canada we are luckier than in the US but, still, I am dreading going back to work when the baby is still a baby and having to put her into childcare.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Isn't that great! I agree, trusting the childcare you use and can afford is really difficult. Is it also difficult in Canada to find childcare?

      Delete