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Having a baby in France

(53 Posts)
Mumpbump Wed 04-Jul-07 09:30:08

I have a very strong suspicion that my sister who lives in Chamonix is pregnant and am worried about how she is going to manage with the French system and, in particular, being half-way up a mountain (in Chamonix, not actually on a ski slope!) when the baby arrives.

Can anyone give me some reassurance about being pg in France and the system there?

Thanks very much!!

LIZS Wed 04-Jul-07 09:40:54

It's not that far to Geneva if needs be, although I'm sure there are hospitals closer by. What are you particularly concerned about ?

francagoestohollywood Wed 04-Jul-07 09:45:11

to be honest, I would have thought that France has the best hospitals in Europe...

Anna8888 Wed 04-Jul-07 09:47:47

French maternity practices are on average a lot more interventionist and medicalised than in the UK. Many more epidurals and episiotomies, far less breastfeeding etc.

If you want a more natural childbirth than is common in France, it can be found but you will need to do some research. Try independent midwives locally for starters.

Mumpbump Wed 04-Jul-07 09:48:14

I don't know if it is like England where you have one hospital which covers a large area. The road off the mountains from Chamonix is pretty horrid and I think the baby would be due in the first few months of next year so there is likely to be snow and ice. I guess I'm just worried that she's going to wind up snowed in as her chalet is a bit remote, but I also guess people have been having babies in remote mountain places in France for generations so it's probably just me being silly!!!

francagoestohollywood Wed 04-Jul-07 09:48:15

there is apparently a HOPITAUX DU MONT-BLANC - CHAMONIX, but it doesn't say how big it is and whether there's a maternity ward.

francagoestohollywood Wed 04-Jul-07 09:49:40

, I'd be worried too mumpbump! How big is chamonix (never been!)?

LIZS Wed 04-Jul-07 09:50:02

People have been known to take apartments in more urban areas near edd to be more accessible , if needs be. Women in that area will have had babies there for many many years and survived.

LIZS Wed 04-Jul-07 09:51:00

Chamonix is huge for a "resort" and there is a direct motorway to Geneva , takes around an hour or so. Hardly remote by Alpine standards!

Mumpbump Wed 04-Jul-07 10:05:04

That's very interesting, Anna. Sounds like a good reason to steer clear anyway, tbh.

I will do a google search for that hospital, Frances, and see what it says. I know in England, they say that there is a minimum number of live births a year a hospital/birthing centre has to do in order to have enough experience to deal with any complications effectively. Not expressing that very well, but my impression is that if it was only a small hospital with a limited number of births, the mortality rate is likely to be higher.

Lizs - she has a studio which she is renting in Geneva so that might be a possibility, but apparently the cost of the antenatal healthcare is way more expensive in Switzerand and her fiance is a ski-instructor so he might be committed to being in Chamonix anyway.

To make matters more complicated, she is on a contract in Geneva at the moment which finishes at the end of the year anyway.

LIZS Wed 04-Jul-07 10:23:27

Switzerland, if anythign, is even more interventionist tbh but if she is renting/working there she must have private health cover which should give her private antenatal care with OB/Gyn and possibly half or full private clinic costs (assuming she isn't within a qualifying period).

Mumpbump Wed 04-Jul-07 10:37:14

Lizs - I will ask her. As she does contract work, I don't know what sort of benefits she has. If it's like the UK, she might not have many! Problem with Chamonix is that she lives in a hamlet near Chamonix which is quite remote. In January which must admittedly be one of the coldest months, the road outside was sheet ice. The previous ski season, the water pipes froze (turns out the previous owners had excavated some ground to create a parking area so the pipes weren't buried as deep as they should have been) and she had no running water!! She was apparently melting buckets of snow...

catheybee Fri 06-Jul-07 09:24:49

I had my second child in France in 2005 and am expecting my third, prenatal care was fabulous, a scan every month, the french are trying to increase their population so mothers are treated very well, good benefits, the clinic where i gave birth was spotless and the staff a bit strict but very nice, I had a cesarian and the only downside was they took my daughter away straightawa for 2 hours while I 'rested' after the op, I didnt like that separation. Any particular questions let me know...I find overall french healtchare a million times better than UK healthcare.

Othersideofthechannel Fri 06-Jul-07 19:31:21

Both mine were born over here. One thing I found to be very different from UK friend's experience was pain relief. I had a choice between epidural (which I did for DS) or nothing (DD). Not even paracetomol.

Othersideofthechannel Fri 06-Jul-07 19:32:42

It was great being able to stay in hospital for four days afterwards and be looked after.

maisym Fri 06-Jul-07 20:02:10

would need a swiss health insurance or pay yourself to go to a swiss hospital. Your sister must be paying for french healthcare? Does she have a doc she could ask about the hospitals & go on a hospital tour?

catheybee Fri 13-Jul-07 12:08:13

What does DD and DS mean. I'm guessing son and daughter ??

Othersideofthechannel Fri 13-Jul-07 12:10:05

Yes, that's right.

Mumpbump Tue 17-Jul-07 13:49:32

Been off ill so I've only just seen the extra posts. My sister has confirmed that she is indeed pg. Apparently, the doctor told her to come back at 12 weeks (she is presently 6).

In my area of England, a nuchal fold scan is routinely offered at 12/13 weeks plus the 20/22 week anomaly scan. Can anyone give me any idea of what scans she can expect to have in France? Is it routine to have them monthly and what are they looking for? Sounds like a lot!!

Thanks!

ib Tue 17-Jul-07 14:39:49

No, usually have 3 scans in France, at 12 22 and 32 weeks. Hospital births here are IMO dreadful, very much lying on your back/epidural/episiotomy as standard.

I had a home birth with an independent midwife and she was fab. Had all my antenatal appointments with her too.

Rach35 Tue 17-Jul-07 21:02:11

I am currently 33wks in France and have LOVED the system compared to what I started with in the UK. I have a Gynaecologist who is really thorough, thoughtful and kind and a Midwife who I have 1:1 lessons with. Everything has been mapped out and explained at every appt (I have monthly appts with Gynae and see MW every fortnight or so). I have had a 22 wk scan and a scan at 32 wks - and I get to take loads of photos home of baby images (for free!). I have been given all the options for pain relief (TENS, gas & air, epidural etc) but ONLY if I want them. I get to meet the anesthetist in a couple of weeks so that in case I DO want an epidural then all the pre-checks have been done. I get to stay in the CLinic until the baby starts to gain weight (i.e when your milk comes in) and my husband can stay too if he wants. If have been given so many choices it is wonderful and I feel relaxed and really cared for. Wouldn't change a thing!

Othersideofthechannel Wed 18-Jul-07 06:32:32

It's good to know that the private clinic system in France is finally giving choices even if the public hospitals are still a bit limited.

Mumpbump Wed 18-Jul-07 09:25:21

That's encouraging... My sister's fiance say that they date the pg from two weeks after the date of your LMP and she won't be seen until she is 12 weeks, so guessing she will be 14 weeks by English calcs. I think that is too late for a nuchal scan which is worrying me slightly because she is 33 and I think the risk is considered to increase when you're 35.

Her fiance (who is staying with us at the moment) is saying he wants all the diagnostic tests, but then you risk an unnecessary m/c of what is more likely than not to be a completely healthy baby. Does anyone know if she can expect to get a nuchal fold scan as a matter of course or if she should arrange to get one privately?

ggglimpopo Wed 18-Jul-07 09:30:51

Is she seeing an obs? She can request a scan as and when she wants and expect to have one. Some obs have a scanner in their surgery and will do routine scans.

I saw an obs once a month till 16 weeks and now see one every two weeks and can ring and see a m/w as I wish.

Is she going private or public? I have no experience of public obs care here in France but have found the private system to be very geared towards the needs of the individual woman; the downside is, is that it is all very medicalised and one has to look around and find a m/w and obs who are not just into the medical side of things and are prepared to listen to someone who does not want the routine, highly medicalised care.

Beachcomber Wed 18-Jul-07 09:50:59

I had both my babies in France (still live in France) and both times everything was great. I agree that births are more medicalised, for both of mine I ended up on a table on my back, no episiotomy but I was told by the midwives that I was 'lucky'. I pretty forcefully told them that I would prefer to tear naturally as I was concerned about having an episiotomy 'routinely'.

For my second I had planned a homebirth, not because I was unhappy with my hospital birth but just because I wanted to have my baby at home. In the end I had the baby at the hospital as she was premature and the midwife wasn't insured for such an early birth. It varies a lot from area to area but most regions have midwives who do homebirths. Almost all the costs are reimbursed by the state, maybe this could be an option for your sister?

I was perfectly happy with the care I received but would like to see the French system modernise its ideas a bit re intervention, etc.

Congrats and good luck to your sister.

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