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What’s It Like to Be Pregnant as An Expat in Portugal?

HAT’S IT LIKE TO BE PREGNANT AS AN EXPAT IN PORTUGAL?Portugal is highly recommended by expats as one of the best countries in the world to live in. Therefore, it is not surprising that foreigners make up 5% of the entire population, according to the 2021 census figures.

The country has many things going for it such as good climate, affordable cost of living, and a fantastic culture. However, for expecting mothers, living in a foreign country might create apprehensions and uncertainties. But the good news is Portugal ranks in the top 30 in the world for best healthcare. From prenatal care and delivery to aftercare, pregnant women can expect quality services and child/maternity benefits.

Pregnancy and Maternity Services

Confirming your pregnancy is easy by going to any pharmacy in the country to buy a test kit. Alternatively, a blood test can also be done at the local health center. Register at the center to benefit from prenatal care of the public healthcare system. Doctors at the center can refer you as well to a gynecologist who will support you throughout your pregnancy. Residents of Portugal are not charged for medical exams during pregnancy. However, prenatal classes are not, so you must pay them out of your own pocket.

Throughout your pregnancy, your health and that of the baby’s will be regularly checked. Expect antenatal exams, sonars, and ultrasound scans. If you wish, you can attend antenatal classes in hospitals and some prenatal and postnatal care sessions at Portuguese health centers. Births usually take place at the maternity wards of hospitals, but if you opt for a home birth, you can do so and choose your own midwife to assist. The cost of delivery is covered by the public health insurance. If you are not a resident of the country, you must take out private health insurance to cover birthing costs.

After Birth

Giving birth is one of the most joyous occasions in life. It is an exciting time for family, friends, and everyone involved in the process. A new mother can also expect to be pampered by relatives and pals from delicious meals and care packages to gift cards and babysitting services. Support from the national healthcare system also continues after delivering a baby.

It is important that you register your newborn at the health center so that the staff can set up medical records for all health assessments. A nurse will also check on you and the infant after leaving the hospital. Postnatal classes are also available (at a cost) should you wish to sign up for some. Your child will benefit from the national vaccination program of Portugal against diseases such as tuberculosis, tetanus, measles, mumps, rubella, and so on. For childcare, there are creches, nurseries, and childcare centers in most cities. Your baby must also be registered within 20 days after delivery at the Portuguese Civil Registry Office. 

Living in Portugal when you’re pregnant is not something to be afraid of. There is a good healthcare system and maternity care is available for free or at a low cost.

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