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Italy - Birth
When a baby is born in Italy, it is mandatory to declare his or her birth with the Registrar of Births, Marriages & Deaths, locally known as Registro Communale Dello Stato Civile. The declaration of birth or Dichiarazione di nascita can be made orally without any witnesses. However, it is important ensure that the declaration is made within 3 days, if done at a hospital and within 10 days, if done at a town hall. In case the parents live in different cities, the registration can be carried out at either the mother’s or the father’s city of residence. Single mothers and parents who are not married can get their babies registered before birth.
Either of the parents can make the declaration. Alternately, a proxy, an obstetrician, a doctor or any other individual who was present during the baby’s birth can carry out the procedure. The details required by the registrar include the baby’s name, gender, date of birth, place of birth, baptism date, mother’s name, father’s name, parents’ ages, parent’s birthplaces, parent’s occupations and mother’s maiden name.
A public officer at the town hall will look after the Issuing of a Birth Certificate for the baby. Babies born to expat parents do not get Italian nationality, even if they are born in the country. Italian nationality is only given in case one of the parents is Italian. In case of expats living in Italy, the baby gets the same nationality as the parents.
Like in any other country, it is important for women to consult a Gynecologist throughout their pregnancy. Yet, when it comes to the birthing of their babies, they can choose to have their delivery at home if they wish to do so. There are several certified and experienced midwives who are well-versed in different types of home-birthing options. However, statistics show that less than 1% of the women in Italy choose a midwife over a doctor.
The Italian abortion law is regarded as one of the most liberal abortion laws in the Western world. However, in practice the situation may be slightly different, as not all doctors are readily willing to perform an abortion. The attitude may vary from one Italian region to another, with people in the big cities being the least conservative.
While abortion is still frowned upon in several parts of the US and the UK, it was legalized in Italy in 1978, as long as it is performed for health, family, economic or social reasons. Also, an abortion can only be performed legally on a woman who is within 12 weeks (90 days) of pregnancy. After 12 weeks, a pregnancy can only be legally terminated if there is any kind of threat to the mother’s health or life. In case there is an abnormality in the fetus, an abortion can be performed up to 20 weeks after conception.
There are no special clinics for terminating pregnancies in Italy and therefore, these procedures are carried out at a public hospital. All pregnant women who are planning to undergo an abortion need to get proof about the state of pregnancy from their local doctors or from a maternal healthcare clinic. An authorization from the baby’s father is not required, to proceed with the procedure. However, pregnant women, who are under the age of 18, need to have a parent’s or a guardian’s consent. In such instances, the decision can also be deferred to a judge. Once the decision to go ahead with the abortion is finalized, the physician performing the procedure issues a certificate of consent, which needs to be signed by the pregnant woman. A 7-day reflection period starts after these formalities have been completed, so that the mother gets some time to reconsider. The reflection period is waived in case of medical emergencies.
Italian women who have a health card do not have to pay for the procedure. However, hospitals charge expats and women of foreign nationalities for an abortion.
Given below are a few useful resources for women who are about to give birth in Italy -
The Birth Center
Via Marmorata 169, SC 3 Int. 1, 00153 Rome
Tel: +39 06 575 8648; 5750 0707
Maria Baldocci Obong
Via Gravina di Puglia 44, 00133 Rome
Tel: +39 06 205 0737
Nascere & Crescere
Anna Maria Gioachhini
Tel: +39 06 7725 0005
For Breastfeeding Counseling and Information
La Leche League International
Tel: +39 06 525 8365; 951 1170
Via Erodotto 7, 00124 Rome
Tel: +39 06 505 3229
Movimento Allattamento Materno Italiano (MAMI)
Via Treggiai 11, 55020 Firenze
Tel: +39 055 234 1156
Read more about this country
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