It is well-known information that the healthcare system in Spain is among the best in the world, so giving birth in Barcelona is really a good idea! Barcelonas maternity facilities range from large hospitals to smaller clinics and in medical terms, are regarded as being of a high standard. The bigger hospitals tend to operate under the social security system and the clinics under private insurance. Birthing options, however, are limited although this is beginning to change as more women are opting for a natural birth.
The degree of medical contact with pregnant women is reasonably high in Spain, with more antenatal tests, scans and intervention during childbirth than in some other countries,. The standard of care in Spain is highly regarded, both public and private, although women are generally required to have held a private insurance policy for a certain amount of time to cover maternity costs, while state healthcare does not have any time restrictions.
Choosing the specific clinic for delivery is a decision future parents should handle with care. You can give birth in Barcelona both in private and public hospitals. Everything depends on the personal preferences of the parents-to-be and whether the future mother has medical insurance. If you are a resident of an E.U.-country, in order to receive free medical service in a public clinic, it is sufficient to present the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).
On the other hand, one can choose a private clinic in which payment will be charged on a daily basis or they can be covered by a private medical insurance. There is a good reason for this charge – private clinics in Barcelona very often resemble expensive hotels, boasting personal rooms, individual service, excellent food, and 24/7 presence for mother and baby.
Normally, in private or public, you can get a guided tour of a clinic before the childbirth and in public you can find some hospitals with private rooms meanwhile in private hospitals all rooms are private.
When you go to the hospital to give birth you should go to the emergency ward (urgencias) of the local hospital, and take your passport, foreign identification card (NIE) and necessary paperwork. English is not always widely spoken so it is sensible to have someone with you who can speak Spanish to ask questions and communicate your preferences concerning medical treatment. Spanish hospitals will have standard operating procedures that they don’t necessarily run past patients, so it is important to have someone to explain what is happening and to speak up for you.
You need to know that not in all hospitals not allow gas or air, although epidurals and pethidine are available. Birth in Spain is seen as a fairly straightforward medical process and alternative birth methods, such as water births, and birthing plans are not as common in Spain as in other countries but in Barcelona you can find at least two hospitals with the possibility of dilation in water. However, you can still write your birthing plan in Spanish and take it with you.
Home births in Barcelona, meanwhile, are not covered by the state health system.
Apart from that, one should bear in mind that during childbirth Spanish doctors widely administer epidural anesthesia (in 98% of the cases). The epidural is considered completely safe for both mother and child and allows the mother to move through the whole process in a more comfortable and less painful way. However, if this option does not suit your vision of the ideal childbirth, you can always choose to decline the epidural anesthesia.