If you’re living abroad and pregnant or planning a family, you probably have more than your fair share of concerns.
What will giving birth in a foreign place be like? How will you get the support you need in your earliest days?
Here are 3 useful tips to help globally mobile mums comfortably navigate the world.
#1 Do a research on pre-natal care cultural norms in your new host country
Attitudes towards pregnancy and childbirth can vary around the globe. Pregnant mothers will find it helpful if they find out how their destination views childbirth and how they affect birth plans.
In America, for example, almost 100% of all births take place in a hospital with close monitoring and the possibility of medical interventions being consistent options throughout pregnancy.
As a consequence, the U.S. has a relatively high rate of caesarean births,/span>. This is similar in many countries, such as China and Singapore where C-section procedures make up 40 – 45% of all births.
In other countries, birth options are shaped by both culture and religion.
In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), for example, you must be married before you can give birth in the country. You may also find you have fewer options for the birth itself. For example, all babies are delivered in hospitals, as home births are legally not permissible in the UAE.
While this is only a small selection of the many regional differences that can occur, what these examples do show is the need to research available options in your new host country as early into your pregnancy as possible.
Luckily, you can always turn to experienced healthcare professionals, midwives and specialists to guide you through the specific process.
#2 Seek appropriate medical coverage
Thinking about your family’s health needs and ensuring that they are protected before you leave is essential. This is especially important if you’re pregnant or planning to get pregnant overseas.
The costs associated with maternity care can vary considerably, so making sure you’re covered for the care you need will help you protect both your family’s health and your financial well-being.
Knowing what your current health plan covers and whether you need to buy a maternity add-on is key, as some plans require that you have their medical coverage for a minimum time before you’re eligible for any maternity benefits.
If you’re in a country where you’re less comfortable with the standard of care available, look for plans that also cover transportation to more appropriate medical facilities – in the event of complications with pregnancy or childbirth.
#3 Find your tribe
Being far away from family and friends can make you feel isolated. Support groups for pregnant women or new parents can go a long way toward alleviating that feeling.
Check your local community centres, houses of worship, schools or even hospitals to see if they host a support group or can refer you to the one you could join.
Some areas even offer classes where you can exercise with your baby. These types of groups provide more than just information and activities; they connect you with people you have something in common with and can forge new friendships for you and your growing family.
While pregnancy can be a vastly different experience across the globe, these examples can make your pregnancy trip worry-free.
When expecting, consider all your options before you travel. The information you gather is essential to a peace of mind, be it travelling for work or play.
This article was contributed by Lori Stetz, Senior Medical Director at Aetna International, one of the largest providers of international private medical insurance.
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