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Having a Baby Abroad

Posted on October 23, 2014, 04:36 PM, by Ana Ferrer under Adjusting to Your International Move

Starting a family while living abroad has many benefits for not only your child, but for you as well. However, there are things to consider when having a baby abroad, take a look at what you should know when planning to have a baby abroad. 

Insurance coverage

If you have medical insurance coverage from your native country, you need to be sure to contact them to let them know of your pregnancy and to find out specifics of their international coverage. If you plan to acquire health insurance coverage from  your host country, make sure that you are aware of what services the insurance company covers and doesn't cover so you aren't surprised when you receive your medical bills. 

Ask these questions of your insurance provider in regards to your medical stay:

  • What (if any) pre-natal services are covered?
  • Is there a specific network of doctors that you must use?
  • Do you have to choose a specific hospital to give birth? 
  • What is the standard length of stay for a normal birth? A birth with complications? 
  • How do you submit for reimbursement? 

Citizenship

Many of the world's citizens assume that if you give birth in a foreign country, your child will have automatic dual-citizenship which is not entirely accurate. Many countries do offer dual-citizenship, however most do not. To find out if your host country will grant dual-citizenship to your baby, check with the country's consulate and see what steps are necessary to obtain dual-citizenship for your child. 

If your host country does grant dual-citizenship to your baby, find out what the implications are. It can be beneficial for your child in the future when it comes to education and career options however, it may also mean that your child may need to fulfill military requirements or even pay taxes on their income down the road. 

Maternity and paternity leave policy

There is no set standard amount of time for maternity leave, nor does every country offer paternity leave. If you've move overseas for work, find out if your employer's maternity leave policy is different in your host country than it is in your native country. Certain countries are more generous with maternity leaves than others and paternity leaves can also differ greatly. Some policies may only offer one or two days off for paternity leave so be sure to contact your human resources department and the appropriate organizations to find out what the policy is. 

Paperwork and passport

Having a baby comes with mountains of paperwork no matter which country you're delivering in. When having a baby abroad, contact your native country's embassy as soon as possible so that you'll be made aware of what paperwork you'll need to fill out once your baby is born. 

After you've completed the paperwork, you'll need to obtain a passport for your child. You won't be able to travel outside your host country without a passport. Obtaining a passport can take months so be sure to plan your time accordingly once your baby is born. 

Personal matters

Having a baby is a hormonal roller coaster no matter where you deliver. If you've only recently moved abroad you may already be experiencing culture shock which often includes feelings of loneliness and homesickness. Knowing how to deal with culture shock is tough enough to do on its own, dealing with feelings of culture shock post-partum can make it even more important to seek help when you need it. Having a support system in place when you're pregnant abroad can make the delivery and the months after easier to handle. 

Apart from the emotional roller coaster of having a child, you'll also need to consider the simple logistics of having a child if you hadn't planned on it before. 

  • Do you have enough space or will you need to find new housing? 
  • Will you have access to the necessary supplies (diapers, formula, medication, etc.)?
  • Do you have a plan for child care once you return to work?

While no situation can be perfect, it's important to do your best to plan ahead when you want to start your family abroad. 

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