Having a baby as an expat? Some questions to ask your Doctor

12 August 2021

If you and your partner are not letting an overseas assignment impact your family planning, make sure your international health insurance includes maternity benefits.

If you don’t have maternity cover, you will need to research having a baby through the public health system in your country of residence. If you opt to pay for private care, you may be left with significant medical bills. 

It is a good idea to schedule a check-up with your family doctor in your country of residence before you become pregnant. You are likely to have a host of questions around having a baby while you are in that country. It might be useful to ask some of the following questions:

This is likely to vary depending on where you are located. For example, in the Netherlands maternity care is provided by family doctor or midwife who you will see once a month for the first half of your pregnancy and less often as the pregnancy progresses. 

In Singapore maternity care is obstetric led. One member of staff may be caring for many women in a hospital setting. So in Singapore it is common to have a doula or private midwife to advise you during pregnancy, assist during birth and provide postnatal support.

If you are located in the UAE then you must be married if you plan to have a baby. A marriage cert will be required when you go for your first pregnancy test. If you are located in Dubai with private maternity insurance, you can look forward to some of the best private maternity facilities in the world. Similarly, to other countries you can choose your own ob-gyn. However, when you are opening a maternity file, check hospital policy regarding your husband. Some allow them to stay beyond visiting times or overnight, but it does vary by hospital. 

Where women choose to give birth varies by country as will the choices available to you. In the Netherlands 16% of births took place at home in 2010, much greater than the average in many other countries which was less than 1%. 

In many other countries over 90% of women give birth in clinical settings. It is a good idea to ask your doctor what your options are. 

It is best to discuss your expectations and preferences at the planning stage to get a feel for what the norm is in your country of residence. For example, in Spain, epidurals are always recommended and about 70% of women choose to have one. In France this figure increases to over 80% of first-time mothers. In contrast, in Japan, many hospitals do not use epidurals. Instead, movement massage and acupuncture are used to relieve pain. As mentioned before, many of us are working from unconventional areas right now. There are many free virtual backgrounds you can use to mask this to help you appear more professional and polished to your interviewer. Make sure to test out this background first to know that it works with your computer camera and the interviewer’s chosen video software. 

Similarly, it might be worth asking about how long a typical recovery after giving birth is in your country of residence. In some countries, hospitals discharge new mothers the same day as giving birth if there are no complications. In others you may stay in a hospital or clinic for 6 days or more recovering and receiving post-natal care and support. 

These are just some of the questions you may wish to ask your doctor as an expat planning a baby overseas. With the right support and plan, having a baby while on expat assignment should be the same fulfilling experience no matter where you are in the world.

If you would like international health insurance with maternity benefits please get in touch, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.