Childbirth is no piece of cake in any country. The decision to have a baby in a new place makes the entire experience all the more daunting. However, with a little bit of preparation the whole procedure can become much easier. Below are the basics of giving birth in the Dominican Republic.
Almost all deliveries in the Dominican Republic take place in a hospital.There is no network of qualified and licensed midwives as home births are very rare. Many of the local women choose to give birth in a public medical facility. Those who can afford it or have private health insurance prefer to have their babies in private clinics.
Public hospitals are averagely equipped and therefore should be used only if necessary. The medical staff at these facilities may not speak English. All patients admitted to public hospitals have to make arrangements for their own pillows, sheets, food, toiletries, etc.
Places like Santo Domingo and Santiago have world-class hospitals, with state-of-the-art equipment and the best medical professionals. These facilities can be private or public. Patients need to pay for the services as well as the room. If you are covered by insurance, this may be a good option.
The concept of prenatal care is more prevalent in the bigger Dominican cities. Women living in rural areas have limited access to well-qualified and experienced obstetricians and gynecologists during their pregnancy; electronic fetal monitoring also rarely occurs in these areas.
Most foreigners visit Hospital Metropolitan in Santiago for good quality prenatal care and childbirth management. You can find out more about their facility and services here.
Doctors’ visits generally include routine checkups and an ultrasound, none of which are covered by insurance. You can find a detailed list of medical professionals in the Dominican Republic, including gynecologists, here.
If you are using private healthcare, setting up an appointment with a doctor isn’t too difficult. However, there may be a long wait, and people are generally checked on first-come, first-served basis.
Unlike the US and the UK, childbirth is considered “women’s business” in this country. The husband or partner is rarely allowed to be present during the procedure.
Most doctors advise women to opt for C-sections, for a variety of reasons. However, if you are keen on a normal delivery, discuss this in depth and in advance with your gynecologist.
Since most deliveries are through C-Section, women are discharged from the hospital after four to five days. During this time, medical staff monitor the health of the mother and the newborn. If there are any complications, they may be kept in for a longer period of time
Dominican women usually aren’t allowed to leave their houses for 41 days after giving birth. This is regarded as the “quarantine” or “risky” period for the mother and baby. The locals often advise foreigners to follow the same practice.
In spite of many efforts made by the UNICEF to promote breastfeeding in the Dominican Republic, it hasn’t become a common practice in the country. Most of the local women feed their babies formula milk.
Expat women who give birth in this country generally opt for breastfeeding. However, unlike in some countries, you will need to feed your child in private, preferably at home.
Two types of birth certificate are issued by the Dominican Republic authorities. The detailed or longer version is called the Acta Inextensa and the shorter type is known as Extracto de Acta. It is best to get several copies of both kinds. To register the birth of a baby, you will have to visit the civil registry office or the Oficialia Del Estado Civil in your area.
After registering the birth locally you’ll need to visit your embassy for registering the birth in your home country. For this, you’ll need to submit passports (for both parents), nationality proofs (for both parents), the marriage certificate (if applicable) and the newborn’s birth certificate.
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