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Portugal – Maternity and Giving Birth

Portugal is a country located in southwestern Europe, known for its beautiful beaches, rich history, and vibrant culture. When it comes to childbirth, Portuguese women have access to a variety of options, including hospital births, home births, and birthing centers. This article will explore the most common options for giving birth in Portugal, how to register a birth, and the attitudes and legislation surrounding abortion in the country.

Giving Birth in Portugal

Hospital Births

The majority of births in Portugal take place in hospital settings, with most women giving birth in government-run hospitals. In a hospital setting, women are supported by a team of midwives, doctors, and nurses. Women who give birth in a hospital have access to pain management options, such as epidurals, and medical interventions if necessary.

Portuguese hospitals are well-equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, and women who give birth in a hospital are supported by a team of midwives, nurses, and doctors. Most hospitals in Portugal have private birthing suites, which are designed to create a more comfortable atmosphere for the birth.

Home Births

Home births are also an option for women in Portugal, although they are less common than hospital births. Women who choose to have a home birth are supported by midwives who provide care throughout the pregnancy and are on hand to assist with the birth.


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Home births are seen as a safe and viable option for low-risk pregnancies. However, if complications do arise during the birth, the midwife will make the decision to transfer the mother and baby to the hospital.

Birthing Centers

Birthing centers are another option for women in Portugal. These centers are staffed by midwives and provide a home-like environment for the birth. Birthing centers are a good option for women who want the support of a midwife but who do not want to give birth at home or in a hospital.

Registering a Birth in Portugal

In Portugal, births must be registered within 20 days of the baby being born. This can be done at any local civil registry office in the country, and both parents must be present. If one of the parents is unable to be present, they can provide a notarized authorization for the other parent to register the birth.

To register a birth, the following documents are required:

  • The birth certificate issued by the hospital, midwife, or doctor
  • Identification documents for both parents
  • The marriage certificate, if applicable

After the birth has been registered, the civil registry office will issue a birth certificate, which is a legal document that serves as proof of the child’s identity and nationality.

Attitudes to and Legislation Surrounding Abortion in Portugal

Abortion in Portugal is legal and has been since 2007. Women can access abortion services up to 10 weeks of pregnancy, and in some circumstances, up to 16 weeks of pregnancy. Abortion services are available in both public and private healthcare facilities, and the government provides financial support for the procedure.

The attitudes to abortion in Portugal are generally liberal, with a strong emphasis on women’s reproductive rights and autonomy. However, there is still some opposition to abortion in the country, particularly from conservative and religious groups.

Despite the availability of abortion services in Portugal, access to contraception can still be limited for some women. This can make it difficult for women to plan their pregnancies and can contribute to the high rate of unplanned pregnancies in the country.

In conclusion, Portugal offers women a range of options for giving birth, including hospital births, home births, and birthing centers. The country’s healthcare system is designed to provide women with high-quality care and support throughout their pregnancy and birth.

Furthermore, Portugal has a liberal attitude towards abortion, and the procedure is legal and widely available. This reflects the country’s emphasis on women’s reproductive rights and autonomy. However, access to contraception can still be limited for some women, which can make it difficult for women to plan their pregnancies.

Despite these challenges, there are several organizations in Portugal that advocate for women’s reproductive rights and access to safe abortion services. These organizations provide counseling, education, and referrals to women who need abortion care.

In addition, the government has recently introduced a bill to improve access to contraception and sex education, which could potentially improve the situation for women’s reproductive rights in the country.

Overall, while the options for giving birth in Portugal are similar to those in other countries, the country’s liberal attitudes towards abortion and emphasis on women’s reproductive rights and autonomy make it a good place for women seeking reproductive healthcare. However, there are still challenges to be addressed in terms of access to contraception and sex education, and there is work to be done to ensure that all women have access to the care they need.


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