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?
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 gave birth to my twin boys at L'Arche Hospital in Nice. This is a large, teaching hospital affiliated with the University of Nice. I moved to France 1 week after finding out I was pregnant, needless to say my husband and I had not anticipated this when we accepted the expat position. I was given an epidural during my labor (which I was required to have a consultation with the anesthesiologist during my prenatal care). I was induced appropriately at 35 weeks due to cholestasis, and labored till I was 9 cm. Then I had a c-section secondary to a sudden onset of fetal distress. My sons did very well and did not need to be in the NICU and roomed in with me the entire stay. Although the nurses would offer to take them at night so I could sleep. My only complaint was the pain management after my delivery. Because I was breastfeeding I only received paracetamol (essentially tylenol) for pain. It was terrible. I had my husband bringing in Advil for me since it worked better. I stayed in the hospital for 6 days after the delivery--quite a bit longer than normal in the US. However since we had no family to help us I took advantage of the assistance from the nurses with the babies.
I feel that L'Arche is an excellent facility for medical care, but don't expect much from the decor (or lack of) or the food which was borderline horrible. My French is mediocore, and I was never offered assistance with translation. Lucky for me I am a nurse-midwife in the states and understood the majority of the medical jargon since it is all similar.
Expat Health Insurance in France
Expats living in France interested in expat health insurance should take a minute to get a quote from our trusted expat health insurance partner, CIGNA.
How did you choose your doctor, midwife or other type of medical professional?
I found my doctor through a co-worker of my husband. She had a friend who is a midwife and recommended Dr. Bongain a perinatologist at L'Arche. He spoke very good English, provided my prenatal care and managed my labor and delivery. I am truly grateful to him for getting me through a difficult, high risk pregnancy. The midwives on the unit also participated in my care and were very helpful to me---especially a kind midwifery student who spoke English.
A good point to remember is that generally the doctor who does your prenatal care will not be the one delivering you. You will be delivered by whichever midwife or doctor is on call at the hospital that day. They don't practice in groups and deliver at a specified hospital. I was lucky to find a Doctor who did both prenatal care and deliveries.
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 certainly go back to L'Arche and Dr. Bongain. However, I would be more assertive in requesting someone to translate. There were so many times I just nodded and said "qui" without having a clue what I had been told. I used the call light once in 8 days only to let the nurses know my water broke, and that my contractions had started.
If a friend of yours living in the same country were expecting, what advice would you give her?
Using word of mouth is the best way to find a doctor. Also join a English speaking moms group while you are expecting. I was a little hesitant to join a group before I had given birth, but met a lovely group of women, many of whom I am still in contact with now. It was also through these women that I found my pediatrician who spoke English. (Dr. Bessier in Valbonne).
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