Having a Baby Abroad – What You Need to Know
So, you’ve escaped the rat race and you’re living the dream abroad in the haven of sunnier climes, rural countryside or perhaps you’re city based. Maybe you relocated on your own, as a couple or as a family, but what do you need to know about having a baby in a foreign country? Take a look at our top tips to consider when having a baby abroad and how to make the journey as smooth as possible.
Firstly, research, research, research. Whether you’ve already moved abroad or are mid move whilst expanding you’re family there are a number of things to bear in mind. Are you nearby a hospital? What are the schools like in the area? What is the community like? What children’s activities are in the local area? Are there any parent and baby groups you can join? It’s important to make sure the area you are moving to is child and family friendly whether this is a short term or long term move you don’t want to be stuck for things to do. If you’re partway through your pregnancy whilst you move you will need to check with your airline if you’re able to fly. Many airlines place restrictions on flying whilst pregnant and some require you to bring along a doctor’s note with you.
A high priority on your baby abroad checklist should be the hospital. Whilst in the UK we are fortunate enough to have use of the NHS for free it is worth considering that many foreign hospitals may require you to pay for any treatment you receive throughout your pregnancy and the birth. Costs can vary drastically from hundreds to the thousands and something to keep in mind when planning on expanding your family. Some jobs may include healthcare plans within their employment contracts but it’s better to check what’s included within the plan and if any payments need to be made.
Along with foreign hospitals come foreign hospital staff and guidelines. Chances are if you’re living in a foreign country you’ve already picked up some of the local language, however if you aren’t fluent it may be worth enlisting a translator whilst hospital bound. Although some hospitals abroad have translators on site it’s not something to be missed off of your baby checklist, especially during labour.
Registering the Birth and Passport Requirements
A child’s birth needs to be registered according to the regulations set by the country where the child was born. A local birth certificate will be accepted should you move back to the UK or country of origin as this may be required when you apply for a school or doctor. If you plan on travelling to visit family soon after the birth to show off your new addition you will need to apply for a passport in the country of birth.
Schooling systems differ across the world ranging from different starting ages, qualification systems and even different schooling terms. For example, in the USA they have Kindergarten whereas in the UK it’s classed as Primary School. Whilst they offer the same thing its worth getting clued up on the schooling system in your local area and the qualifications your child will receive. If you’re considering another move after the birth then you’ll also need to get clued up on how you child’s schooling system compares abroad as your child may be behind or in front in terms of education.
Expats are your Friends
Finally, expats will be your biggest friends throughout your baby abroad journey. After all, they may have been through this before and will be able to offer you first hand advice on all of the above. Research local groups of expats in the area, check Facebook, local newspapers and magazines and even search Twitter. Hopefully you’ll find an expat community ready to answer all your burning questions.