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Expat Exchange - Having a Baby in Israel
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Having a Baby in Israel

By Betsy Burlingame

William Russell
William Russell

Summary: If you're going to be pregnant while living in Israel and want to learn what it's like to have a baby in Israel, this article is a must read. Topics covered include public vs. private hospitals, pain management, finding a doctor and more. Plus, expats share their experiences having a baby in Israel.

Healthcare in Israel - Having a Baby in Israel

Having a baby in a foreign country can be a daunting prospect, but Israel offers a modern healthcare system with a range of options for expectant expat parents. The country is known for its high standard of medical care and has a universal healthcare system that is accessible to all residents, including expats. Israel's maternity care is comprehensive, and many hospitals are equipped with state-of-the-art facilities. For expats, navigating this new terrain involves understanding the local healthcare system, finding the right medical professionals, and making informed choices about where and how to give birth.

Choosing a Doctor

When expecting a baby in Israel, expats should start by selecting a doctor or midwife who will oversee their prenatal care and delivery. Many expats opt for an obstetrician-gynecologist (OB-GYN), and it is relatively easy to find English-speaking doctors in Israel, especially in larger cities such as Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and Haifa. Hospitals and clinics catering to an international clientele often have staff who are proficient in English. Expats can seek recommendations from local expat communities, their health insurance provider, or the hospital's international department. It's important to feel comfortable with your healthcare provider, so don't hesitate to meet with several doctors before making a decision.

What to Expect for Prenatal Care

Prenatal care in Israel is thorough and follows international standards. Expectant mothers will have regular check-ups with their chosen healthcare provider, including routine ultrasounds and blood tests to monitor the health of both mother and baby. Israel's healthcare system emphasizes preventive care, so pregnant women can expect to receive guidance on nutrition, exercise, and any necessary lifestyle adjustments. Additionally, prenatal classes are available, often through the hospital or local community centers, to prepare parents for childbirth and parenting.

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

While Israel provides universal healthcare to its residents, many expats choose to have private health insurance to cover additional services that may not be fully covered by the public system. Private insurance can offer more choice in terms of selecting doctors and hospitals, as well as potentially shorter wait times for certain procedures. It can also provide coverage for private rooms or other amenities during the hospital stay. However, even without private insurance, the standard of care in public facilities is generally high, and expats can expect to receive quality prenatal care and delivery services.

Giving Birth at Public vs. Private Hospitals

The experience of giving birth in public versus private hospitals in Israel can differ in terms of amenities and personal attention. Public hospitals are well-equipped and provide high-quality care, but they may be busier and offer less privacy, with shared rooms being common. Private hospitals or private rooms in public hospitals, which are available for an additional fee, can provide a more comfortable environment with amenities such as private bathrooms and the possibility of having a partner stay overnight. The choice between public and private will depend on personal preferences and the level of coverage provided by health insurance.

C-Sections in Israel

Cesarean sections are relatively common in Israel, with rates comparable to those in other developed countries. The decision to perform a C-section is based on medical necessity, the health of the mother and baby, and sometimes personal preference. Israel's healthcare providers are experienced in both vaginal and cesarean deliveries, and the choice of delivery method should be discussed with your healthcare provider during the prenatal period.

Pain Management During Delivery

In Israel, a variety of pain management options are available to women during labor and delivery. These include epidurals, which are widely used and generally available in most hospitals. Other methods, such as nitrous oxide (laughing gas), TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation), and various natural pain relief techniques, may also be offered. Women are encouraged to discuss their pain management preferences with their healthcare provider well in advance of their due date to ensure their wishes are understood and can be accommodated.

Hospitals with Neonatal Intensive Care Units

Major cities in Israel, including Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa, and others, have hospitals equipped with Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICUs). These facilities are designed to care for premature infants or newborns with medical complications. The country's medical staff are highly trained in neonatal care, and the NICUs are outfitted with advanced technology to provide the best possible outcomes for newborns requiring intensive care. Parents can inquire about the availability of NICU services at their chosen hospital during their prenatal visits to ensure they are prepared for any situation that may arise.

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.


William Russell
William Russell

William Russell
William Russell

SJB Global
SJB Global

SJB Global is a top-rated financial advisory firm specializing in expat financial advice worldwide, offering retirement planning & tax-efficient solutions with a regressive fee model.
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SJB GlobalSJB Global

SJB Global is a top-rated financial advisory firm specializing in expat financial advice worldwide, offering retirement planning & tax-efficient solutions with a regressive fee model.
Learn More

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