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An Expat Talks about What is Was Like Having a Baby in Vasto, Italy

Submitted by rkabruzzo

What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?

Vasto

How recently did you give birth in the country that you are reporting on?

Nov 2007

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...

The hospital in Vasto offers pre-birthing classes, which are useful for meeting other moms-to-be, and for getting used to the hospital scene. Not so useful for really preparing you for birth. Most of the GYNs are highly qualified and the Obstetricians seem to be more like nurses, however, there are a couple of gyns who are hideous and do not treat patients with respect or understanding. The hospital is trying to update some of their equipment, allowing water births and such, but the basic equipment (iv sack racks, beds, bathrooms, monitors for tracking baby's heartbeat, etc.) are really out-of-date. All the rooms are shared with another patient. If you happen to give birth during a slow time you can pay a small amount of € and have a whole room to yourself. Husbands don't spend the night, babies are all kept in the nursery (still in the 50's?). I had to argue and sign off to accept all responsibility to keep my baby in the room with me so I could nurse her at night. I did not get any reports about the baby's health. She had jaundice and they suspected it and didn't tell me. I was all packed and ready to check out of the hospital after 3 days and they told me to go ahead and go but they were keeping the baby! I flipped and ended up staying another 3 days. I was getting no rest because they had left me the baby and didn't give me any breaks. They are very noisy, about 5 different people pass through your room every day banging stuff and cleaning stuff. Then the nurses are all chatting loudly in the hall right after lunch when you are trying to fall asleep. And, yes, you have to bring your own tp, silverware, wipes, baby clothes, pads, towels, extra blankets and pillows if you want them, etc. Obviously there are no phones for patients to use, so bring a cell phone. Oh, yes, and no epidurals or pain killers unless you are having a c-section.

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How did you choose your doctor, midwife or other type of medical professional?

Through recommendation of a friend. He was great. However, he decided to move his practice out of town a few months ago, and apparently patients are not privy to that info... you only find out through the grapevine or if one day you need to make an appointment and realize you have to find a new gyn.

If you were to have another child in this country, would you do anything differently in terms of preparation and/or the delivery?

I did everything within my power... the only thing I would do differently is to search for a really really really good friend or even someone who I could PAY to just HELP ME the whole time after the birth. (forgot to mention that I had my sister with me during the labour and birth and she was a star, but she was on the plane the day after the baby finally came! I am so glad she was there because the nurse and Obstetrician were half asleep and sitting in the corner chatting most of the time. The gyn just popped in once in a while to check on things.)

If a friend of yours living in the same country were expecting, what advice would you give her?

Just be ready for the unexpected and find someone who will advocate for you so that you will have full access to your rights to choose on all the issues like breastfeeding vs. bottles etc.

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An overview of the healthcare system in Italy - public and private hospitals, Servizio Sanitario Nazionale (SSN), getting your Tessera Sanitaria (healthcare card), vaccinations for Italy, prescription medication availability and more.

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5 expat moms offer candid insight into what it's like giving birth in Italy - from bringing towels and toilet paper with you to the hospital to being refused pain medication. And, like most advice in Italy, word of mouth is the best way to find a good OB/GYN.

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To seek a university hospital and or doctors associate with one. To ask the locals for references.

Answer Questions about Healthcare in Italy

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