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Expat Exchange - Having a Baby in Croatia
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Hvar, Croatia


Having a Baby in Croatia

By Betsy Burlingame

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Allianz Care

Summary: Discover the ins and outs of having a baby in Croatia through this detailed article. It delves into crucial topics such as the differences between public and private healthcare, approaches to pain management, and the process of finding a suitable doctor. Plus, enjoy personal stories from expats who have embraced parenthood in Croatia.

Having a baby is a life-changing event, and for expats living in Croatia, it comes with its own set of challenges and experiences. Croatia offers a blend of Mediterranean charm and Balkan hospitality, making it an attractive destination for expats and digital nomads. The healthcare system in Croatia is generally of a high standard, with options for both public and private care. For expats expecting a baby in this beautiful country, navigating the healthcare system, understanding local practices, and accessing services can be a bit different from what they're used to back home. This article aims to provide an overview of what expats can expect when having a baby in Croatia, from choosing a healthcare provider to understanding the options for delivery and pain management.

Choosing a Doctor

When it comes to finding a doctor or midwife in Croatia, expats have several options. Many expats opt for private healthcare where they can find English-speaking doctors more easily. Although there are English-speaking doctors in the public system as well, they may be fewer in number. It's advisable to seek recommendations from other expats or consult expat forums and groups for insights on finding a suitable healthcare provider. Additionally, many private clinics have staff who are accustomed to dealing with international patients, which can make the process smoother for expats.

What to Expect for Prenatal Care

Prenatal care in Croatia is comprehensive and follows standard European protocols. Expectant mothers can anticipate regular check-ups, ultrasound scans, and blood tests to monitor the baby's development and the mother's health. These services are available through the public healthcare system and are also offered by private clinics. Expats should be aware that while public healthcare is of good quality, facilities may not be as modern or appointments as readily available as in private healthcare settings.

Do Expats Typically Have Private Health Insurance when Having a Baby in Croatia?

Many expats in Croatia opt for private health insurance to cover maternity care. This is because private insurance can provide quicker access to specialists, a wider choice of healthcare providers, and more comfortable facilities. While Croatia's public healthcare system covers basic maternity care, private insurance can offer additional peace of mind and comfort for expats during this important time.

Giving Birth at Public vs. Private Hospitals

The experience of giving birth in public hospitals in Croatia is generally positive, with skilled medical staff and adequate facilities. However, public hospitals can be busier and may not offer the same level of privacy or comfort as private hospitals. Private hospitals, on the other hand, tend to have more modern amenities, shorter wait times, and more personalized care. They also typically provide more options for birthing plans and may be more accommodating to the preferences of expat mothers.

C-Sections in Croatia

Cesarean sections are relatively common in Croatia, with rates comparable to other European countries. The decision to perform a C-section is usually based on medical necessity, but elective C-sections are also an option. Expats should discuss their birth plan and any preferences for delivery methods with their healthcare provider well in advance.

Pain Management During Delivery

In Croatia, various pain management options are available during labor, including epidurals, which are commonly used. However, the availability of such options may vary between public and private hospitals. Expats should inquire about pain management methods during prenatal visits and ensure that their birth plan is communicated clearly to the medical staff.

Hospitals with Neonatal Intensive Care Units

Major cities in Croatia, such as Zagreb, Split, and Rijeka, have hospitals equipped with neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) for babies who need special care after birth. These facilities are staffed by trained neonatologists and nurses who specialize in the care of newborns with health issues. Expats living in more remote areas may need to travel to these cities if advanced neonatal care is required.

About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.


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Hvar, Croatia

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