France uses a more "medicalised" approach to birth than the UK or the US. Up-sides to this were:
- I had regular scans, and the very latest technology was made available to me.
- I was monitored closely, given monthly blood tests to check for infection; Group B Strep was thus detected before birth.
- When my baby contracted an infection, he was immediately placed under treatment before he even fell noticeably ill.
Down-sides to this approach were:
- I was given hormones to speed-up labour.
- I was talked into having an epidural.
- I had an "invasive" exam each month of my antenatal care (although this wasn't really a big deal).
Because of my baby's infection, I spent 10 days in the hospital, rooming in with him. Normally, a French stay is about 5 days for a normal birth and 8 after a C-section. I had a private ensuite room and the midwives were very kind.
However, babies are not treated as individuals in France: they are expected to feed once every 4 hours, no more, no less. When he dropped too much weight, I had to fight to prevent them from "supplementing" him with formula.
I didn't share the French ideology about birthing, routines and feeding, but when my baby's weight went up again and his infection began clearing, they left me to do as I pleased. I did feel that they always had mine and my son's medical interests at heart.
Follow-up care was excellent. There is quite a long hospital stay during which I was well cared-for. You are also entitled to physio sessions for your pelvic floor, and you can attend a drop-in clinic (PMI) to monitor your baby's weight, growth, and see a doctor, free of charge.