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Italy – Maternity and Giving Birth

Italy is a country with a rich cultural heritage, and this extends to the way childbirth is approached. In recent years, the country has undergone a transformation in the way that childbirth is handled, and the options available to pregnant women. In this article, we will explore the most common options for giving birth in Italy, the steps involved in registering a birth, and the attitudes and legislation surrounding abortion.

Giving Birth in Italy

In Italy, the vast majority of births take place in hospitals. According to the Italian Ministry of Health, more than 98% of births in the country occur in hospitals. Home births are not common, but they are an option for women who prefer this approach.

The Italian healthcare system is comprehensive, and all pregnant women have access to prenatal care, regardless of their insurance status. Women can choose their obstetrician-gynecologist (OB-GYN) or midwife, and these healthcare providers will guide them through their pregnancy, delivery, and postpartum care.

In recent years, there has been an increase in the number of birthing centers in Italy. These centers offer a more home-like environment for women who want a less clinical setting for their delivery. Birthing centers are equipped with medical equipment and staffed by midwives and doctors, but they are designed to provide a more relaxed atmosphere for labor and delivery.

Registering a Birth in Italy

In Italy, the registration of a birth is a legal requirement. The birth must be registered within 10 days of the delivery. Parents can register the birth at the local registry office, known as the anagrafe.

The following documents are required for the registration of a birth:


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  • A declaration of birth issued by the hospital or midwife in charge of the delivery
  • The mother’s identification documents (ID card or passport)
  • The father’s identification documents (ID card or passport)
  • The parents’ marriage certificate, if applicable
  • The parents’ residency permit, if they are not Italian citizens

After submitting the required documents, the anagrafe will issue a birth certificate, which serves as proof of the child’s identity and citizenship.

Attitudes and Legislation Surrounding Abortion in Italy

Abortion is legal in Italy, but the laws regulating it are complex. The law allows for abortions up to 12 weeks of pregnancy, and up to 24 weeks in cases where the pregnancy poses a risk to the mother’s health or in cases of fetal abnormalities.

The decision to have an abortion in Italy must be made by the woman herself, and she must be given the opportunity to speak with a counselor before making the decision. The counseling is intended to provide the woman with information about the procedure and its risks and to explore other options, such as adoption.

Despite the fact that abortion is legal in Italy, it is still a controversial issue in the country. The Catholic Church holds a significant influence in Italian society, and it has historically opposed abortion. As a result, access to abortion services can be limited in some areas, particularly in the southern regions of the country.

Giving birth in Italy is generally a hospital-based experience, with prenatal care provided by OB-GYNs or midwives. The country’s healthcare system is comprehensive, and all women have access to prenatal care regardless of their insurance status. The registration of a birth is a legal requirement and must be completed within 10 days of the delivery. Abortion is legal in Italy, but the laws regulating it are complex, and access to services can be limited in some areas.


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