Expat Advice: Having a Baby in Athens
What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?
How recently did you give birth in the country that you are reporting on?
13 months ago
Describe your experience giving birth there. What type of facility did you go to? What (if any) type of pain management did you use? How long did you stay in the hospital? Was it a positive experience? Etc...
I went to the first midwife-run facility in Athens--but there are midwives aplenty in the villages. I had a completely natural delivery--except they coerced me into breaking my waters and starting pictocin, which made everything quite unnecessarily painful. They also gave me an episiotomy, which I was against. It's hard to stand to your convictions when going through such a hormone- and pain-fueled experience, but have supportive people around you who know your wishes. And don't let yourself alone with any medical personel whatsoever!!!! They aren't always looking out for your best interests. I stayed two days before going home with Gabriel, and the midwife only made one visit to check on us (and collect her money) -- very unprofessional. Unfortunately, they were the best I found, as I went to (literally) FIVE ob's before finding them. Greece has a very high c-section rate (almost 50%) and if you want to avoid this, you must pick your ob very carefully. Really question him. All perform routine episiotomies and discourage rooming in and nursing! If possible, I encourage you to ask about village midwives (maia's) to do your delivery, and stay home, if possible. If I had just stayed in my safe little apartment, they never would've been able to give me the pictocin and threaten me with a c-section. Only after we told them we wouldn't be using their private doctor for any emergency, but rather going to the state hospital--then they finally shut up and did their jobs. Relax. It was a mixed bag, experience-wise. Yes, I have some issues with how they mistreated me, but the alternatives were so much worse.
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How did you choose your doctor, midwife or other type of medical professional?
I went to five private and one state ob's before finally settling two months before I was due on a group of midwives who worked with an ob. They have a birthing center and will come to your house. I chose them b.c. of their philosophical differences from the mysogonistic doctors I encountered before them.
If you were to have another child in this country, would you do anything differently in terms of preparation and/or the delivery?
I would go to the La Letch League meetings. They have them in English in a few locations. I would also trust my instinct more, say NO when I truly wanted to. I wanted to have the baby in the house from early on, but my husband was scared (our first baby) and we opted for the clinic.
If a friend of yours living in the same country were expecting, what advice would you give her?
I Would Not give her the name of this group of midwives--they were all terrible, unsympathetic wretches in my labor, taking time off to sleep b.c. I wasn't going fast enough. I would tell my friend to find a nice old midwife from the village who's been working autonomously forever and ever, and pay her to come to the house for the delivery. It's truly the safest option if you want a natural and safe labor and delivery. Plus, she will encourage nursing, which Nobody does there--not pediatricians, ob's, no one. Good Luck!
More Expat Advice about Having a Baby in Greece