I just found out we are expecting our 3rd child in May. We moved to France from the UK last winter and are not yet very familiar with the healthcare system (other than the horror stories of 1970s style patriarchal obs)
It looks as though home birth is a no go in my area (rural Haute Vienne) so I am looking into my options and trying to find out the truth of what really is 'obligatoire' and what is just the done thing...
I would be grateful if you could share your experiences particularly with regard to length of hospital stay (do you really have to stay the 3 day minimum that I keep hearing about - what if you offered to come back in for their stupid daily weight checks and the ped check?); abx eye goop (can you sign a waiver to opt out?)
And what are the laws regarding unassisted birth? If the baby were to be born 'accidentally' at home, would we then be required to check into the hospital?
I am grateful for any input you might have. I have a lot of research to do!
about the "3 days stay"
you can sign yourself out of hospital at anytime by signing a waiver (I know, I did it once late on a Sunday evening....after they transfered me on the 2cd day after birth and I was not happy at all about all that was happening ) BUT they don't have to discharge your baby at the same time IF they are not 100% happy that all is well (my baby stayed behind, but I had the option to search for another doctor outside of hospital the next day so as to change one of my medication to a similar one that would allow me to breastfeed, there had been so many mishapps after the birth since I gave birth for that one during a 3 weeks long strike from midwives all over France ...giving birth on a Friday evening is not a good idea either in my experience !!!! ...).
If they are happy that all is well with your baby (some people I vaguely know got discharged early-ish because they had 4 other kids at home they also wanted to take care of & the new baby was absolutely fine ...) you could look up prior to the birth, if there are
- centre de protection maternelle et Infantile - PMI in short, in your area,
they are kind of "drop in centers" and you can go and just get a nurse to weigh your baby
- arrange prior to birth for a local "sage femme libérale" to come to your home every few days after birth to check the baby ... and to check you out as well !
Letting the hospital know that you intend to make use of your local possibilities to check on the baby could make them willing to let you both get out sooner ...
the "3days " thing is mainly because they wait until the weight curve on the chart stops getting down and starts going up again ....
& the only really "compulsory" weight check for the baby is the one at the end of the first week, when a doctor (could be your family doctor if they are willing /used to doing it, no need to search for a pediatrician unless there are some special concerns .....) has to fill in the form of the
"certificat du huitième jour"
that form you'll get at the hospital just after the birth, at the back of the "carnet de santé" where they record all the vital signs at birth etc ...
and that form needs to be sent to the social security office (the state use the data to produce statistics) ... or else you risk having whatever "allocations familiales" being stopped ....
Thank you so much for your very helpful advice :)
I wonder if I discussed before the birth the fact that I am very uncomfortable about staying in hospital, and told them who I was going to see to have the baby checked out (or promised to come back in) then maybe they would let me out.
I find it outrageous that they can refuse to let you take your own baby wherever you damn well please. It sounds like you had a pretty stressful experience!
Do you have much of a choice of maternity wards? Choose carefully as there can be a huge difference from one to the other. I was in a private, small clinic which has birth pools, etc. Two clinics in our area are very pro-unmedicated birth. The hospital looked like a nightmare!
Go through the hoops of choosing a clinic, which are usually better than big hospitals. I wont comment about whether the baby is "accidently" born at home but at least know where you need to head if things aren't going to plan.
Hello! I just wanted to chime in because I wanted a homebirth when I lived in Aveyron and everyone said it was impossible so I ended up in a hospital. After I met lots of mothers who had given birth at home in that area, so beware of people saying it's not possible. Have you been to a local LLL meeting and asked there about home birth? That would be my first port of call and then I would go to the hospital and ask for the names and numbers of all the sage femme liberale and call them. Homebirth can be very hush hush in some departements but lots of sage femme liberale do it.
You could also try calling a local doula.
Maybe you know all this, and for what it's worth I gave birth in hospital where I gave birth to my first baby in the position I wanted with no drugs/epidural/drip/monitoring, they were very respectful of what I wanted. Also I think as it's your third baby they will just follow your lead.
Have a wonderful birth!!!
DS was born last year accidentally at home near Paris. We did call the Pompiers, but they arrived after the birth. I was taken to the hospital, but I'm fairly certain I could have refused if I wanted but I wanted to be checked for tearing and bleeding and have baby looked over. I stayed the normal 5 days, but my General Practitioner was surprised and asked why I was not offered home after care with a midwife, so I assume it's ok and available as an alternative to the 5 day maternity stay for someone who has already birthed at home.
llinos and autumnfairy, I missed your replies - thank you for your input.
Going to LLL is a great idea, I have been meaning to go since we moved here but it is quite a long way. I will check into it again. Oh, and in case I end up in hospital, do you know whether I can refuse the eye goop for the baby? Honestly I am more worried about all the stuff after the birth, and having to stay in, than the actual birth itself :?
autumnfairy - congrats on your accidental homebirth! As far as I know there are no midwives here who work outside the hospitals. It is very rural and we are somewhat lacking in options... Did you ask to be released from hospital earlier or were you happy to stay? What did they want to do to justify that length of stay? Ugh, I hate being in hospital, just the thought gives me the heebie jeebies.
where are you exactly ?
looked up there
are you near Bellac or Condat S/vienne or Saint Gence or Saint Junien ?
only found 4 out of Limoges... not that many indeed ..
I gave birth in a private clinic, my roommate had 5 kids at at home & they allowed her to leave early because everything looked fine with the baby - not sure if she had to sign a waiver.
They did not push the epidural on me and gave me intermittent monitoring. My water broke before my actual labor started, they allowed me to leave the hospital to walk around (but would not discharge me since my water had broken) allowed me to eat and said they would not consider giving me pitocin (ocytocine) until 24 hours after my water broke.
Hope this helps!
Mama to M. born 09/2011
Keep calm & carry on
I just wanted to update on here.
Our baby boy arrived on the 22nd May - we had a lovely UC and took him to hospital a few hours later to be checked over. There were a few raised eyebrows, but no problems at all, and we were allowed home the same day once baby had been seen by the ped and I had signed a waiver declining hospitalisation.
As he was born at home, we had to register him at our local mairie - he was the first baby born in our commune since 1964! Pretty cool.
Thats great, sounds like things worked out perfectly, congratulations! I dont check this forum much because it's very quiet. I'm about to have my second baby (due date tomorrow), a planned homebirth with a sage femme liberale.
Hi there, Just in case anyone who checks out this thread wants to read about an (ex-pat) natural birth in France, feel free to check out my birth story. There are also plenty of entries about the (inevitable) dramas leading up to finding the right person for me.
Just to say for those folks who try to prefer only to read about positive birth experiences, this is a great read! I preferred when I was pregnant to focus on the simplicity, beauty and effort in natural birth so as not to put any negative energy in my preparation. It worked great! My first birth was also natural in France ... but wasn't great. I prepared much more for the second and the results showed.
My point of view is, who would run a marathon without training and doing the mental exercises needed to do your best? How is birth any different?
Anyway, here is the birth story entry:http://transitionkitchen.blogspot.fr/2012/09/leos-birth-story.html