newly pregnant in Paris, advice please?!(10 Posts)
Hello there, I've just discovered I'm pregnant with my second; we live in Paris and have just called my doctor (don't have a gynae) and she's on holiday until the end of August. My ds was born in the UK, so although I've lived in Paris off and on for eight years or so, I've got no experience of pregnancy / giving birth here! If possible, I'd quite like to find a sort of English-y style / sympathetic dr or gynae to see me through - my sense is things are much more hands-on / interventionist in France. Would anyone have any advice as to what I should do now or recommendations? I live in the 13e. Thanks!
You could join Message Paris www.messageparis.org it's an association for English-speaking parents (and parents-to-be) in Ile-de-France. Have to pay for membership but there is a directory of medical personnel across Paris (inc. whether they are English-speaking, pro-home birth, all that sort of thing). There's also an online forum which is great for all information about Paris.
Thank you for the reply! I think I will join; though I've just seen that it can take 3 weeks to process an application, and I suppose I should probably see someone before then...
I will ask friend who had her ds in paris who she used - seem to remember she found a good english speaking midwife who was of help.
Hmm, yes, and it IS August, so it might take a while. You will also need to register at a hospital asap. I gave birth in my local public hospital and was only seen by my GP (was also my 2nd pg, so really wasn't too concerned about it) but I am out to the west of Paris.
You could try getting in touch with these guys:
Have heard about them from a friend and believe they are in the 13th.
You also need to inform the SECU before you are 14 weeks gone in order to get your full maternity cover. You can get the form from your GP or gyne.
Thank you for more sage, practical advice! This is great. I did know about accueil naissance and even took ds along a few times but had completely forgotten about it - brilliant idea. I think I might also give my ds's paed a call, as she'd great and in the area, and might be able to recommend a nice gp (not bothered about a gynae). Feeling a bit more in control now. Thanks!
You could try Dr Julia Bache in the 17th. She's a British GP who used to be an ob/gyn at the Hôpital Franco-Britannique in Levallois-Perret.
Perhaps a bit late here, but if you are looking for a more UK-style approach, then Muriel Andre is a midwife at Groupe Naissance who work from de Vinci hospital. She is French, but trained and worked in the UK for 6 years and is independent, which means she follows French medical 'law' but is free to use whatever system she likes! She also speaks fluent English - a bonus for me!
I have found that Groupe Naissance is seen as pretty 'hippy' for France, but from what I hear from friends in the UK, it is essentially the UK system with a few extras: you get the same midwife all the way through and unless you're unlucky, it's her with you in the labour/delivery room and she stays with you for two hours after that. Then she visits you every day in hospital and makes a few home visits after that. It's not free, but a lot can be reimbursed through insurance, it just depends on your insurance, so you need to check that out.
The clinic's website is down at the moment (even websites stop working in August ) but Muriel has a website in English and French of her own with contact details. http://www.sage-femme-muriel.com
I don't know if you can see a midwife from the get go, or if you have to have a Dr confirm the pregnancy first, however, a midwife can follow you all the way through from that point at least.
Some points that might be useful:
- Muriel does no internal exams, unless there is a specific reason to, unlike almost all other care providers
- A GP can "follow" you until the 6 month mark and after that it needs to be a midwife or ob/gyn who works where you will be giving birth
- You need to sign up for a hospital ASAP if you know which one you'd like to go to.
- If you want to go through Groupe Naissance, you would give birth at Clinique de Vinci but you are automatically signed up by being 'followed' by a Groupe Naissance midwife and don't need to sign up immediately (I got in in my 6th month with no difficulty).
- In France, you normally stay in hospital for 3 days after an uncomplicated delivery and 6 days after a c-section. You can check yourself out earlier if you wish.
- Epidurals are extremely common in France - it is not considered a 'normal' option to not have one. This is fine if you want one, if not, you need to look at your options VERY carefully, because many people have found that their ob/gyn says they don't have to have an epidural if they don't want, but when they get to the hospital, it is pushed on them. This is one of the reasons I chose Groupe Naissance - they don't give epidurals unless you specifically want one (and if you know this ahead of time, there's no real need to go via them).
- You need to have monthly blood tests, regardless of who your provider is to test for toxoplasmosis, unless your first test indicates you are autoimmune. Most non-Frenchies aren't!
I'd also second BriocheDoree on signing up to Message. My membership came through faster than three weeks!
Congratulations on tbe pregnancy!
I just spent all my pregnancy in France although I went to Greece at 36 weeks to give birth.
I was followed by my regular gyneacologist every month until month 7 when I registered with my local hospital, but I think there is a shortage of maternity spaces in Paris and you may want to look into hospitals earlier. During the pregnancy I got:
- monthly blood tests
- 4 scans. Dating, 12 weeks plus trisomie tests, 23 weeks, 32 weeks. Amnio is only performed if the 12 week tests show an increased risk (more than 1:250 I think).
- monthly gyneo visits
- six lessons with a sage femme
- diabetes test
- at 12 weeks you get a package for social services from your gyneo which you need to fill in and it sorts out your maternity leave if you are entitled to that.
The French are very careful with pregnancies and cost is never a consideration, but they are very paternalistic and prescriptive. Home births are very rate and ELCS are impossible. You also cannot collect cord blood (we left for Greece because of the cord blood and wanting an ELCS). Everyone must, by law, have a consent meeting with an anaesthesiologist prior to going into labour. Epidurals are common and easy to get, although I didn't get the impression one was being forced on me; I was asked if I thought I wanted one which was then put in my notes and told I had to have the consent meeting either way for legal purposes.
Im newly pregnant too, but its my second in France. Your doctor can prescribe blood tests, do you have a carte vitale yet? They can also recommend obstrician, appointments can take some time. My doctor was attatched to a private clinic so beds were no problem although a mutuel is a must. If you test negative for toxoplasmosis ( the cat virus) a blood test is required every month. I found the system to be very thorough although the aftercare seems to be different from the uk eg just one home midwife visit after birth.
HTH and congratulations!
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