Weight Gain During Pregnancy in Italy
People will touch your belly.
Costs of Having A Baby in Italy.
The delivery may be free BUT Baby items are really expensive in Italy…
Want to set up a baby registry on Amazon.it? Here’s how.
BUT the Italian Government also gives you money for having a baby aka the Baby Bonus
So Italy has one of the lowest birth rates in Europe. I’m sure expenses have a lot to do with it. Maybe if the baby items in the stores weren’t so ridiculously priced, people would be having more babies! With a national average after tax salary of around 1,300 Euros per month, who can blame Italians for not reproducing. Enter the Baby Bonus. If you had a baby after 2017, the Italian Government gives any Italian resident regardless of nationality and income, even me, 800 Euros (amount may have increased in 2019) per child. There are even further incentives, like a monthly stipend, if your salary or lack thereof qualifies you. Furthermore, in 2019, discounts are now available on formula and other items for new moms. Thank goodness. Visit INPS for more information and how to apply.
An epidural is not guaranteed in Italy, not even close.
Many people don’t speak English in Italy…
Lab levels are Strict
My pre-pregnancy fasting blood sugar was 80, then 86 during pregnancy, which is totally NORMAL. I was flagged for being at risk of gestational diabetes. I couldn’t believe it. So after my first trimester, I had to record my blood sugar after every meal with one of those little machines that prick you. Even though my blood sugar never surpassed 110 after one hour of eating or went above 90 for fasting levels, I had to prick myself 3x a day for the rest of my pregnancy. It was also noted in my “file” on the computer system. So every doc and hospital visit I had for the 2nd and 3rd trimester lead with “oh i see you are at risk for gestational diabetes” in Italian. No I AM NOT. Again, so much fun.
You can have a birth plan but understand that none of it may be followed.
My delivery room in Italy was huge and informal!
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Overall Hospital Experience of Having A Baby in Italy
I liked the hospital I delivered in. It felt like a friendly maternity ward, the nurses and obstetricians were lovely and informal. There was none of that medical hierarchy stuff you find in the States, where someone in a sterile white coat (everyone treats like God) is followed around by all the nurses. I was comfortable with them handling my newborn. Also, the food was pretty good. I got to choose from a menu for every meal. Even though they had put me on a low sugar meal plan (for no freaking reason whatsoever…as stated earlier), I had what seemed like decent cuts of meat and not-soggy vegetables, tagliatelle with ragu, fresh fruits for dessert, etc. A lot of times, I shared my food tray with my husband.
Apart from the positives, there were a few things I did find irritating. I arrived at the hospital around 9 pm and the front doors were already closed off so we had to walk from the parking lot down an endless corridor and up the elevator to the maternity area while I was experiencing more than mild contractions. What irritated me the most is that in between contractions, I had to sit in an office and go through my whole medical history AGAIN, even though everything was written in my file.
I also didn’t like that towards the end of labor, random doctors and nurses were entering my delivery room. I was comfortable with my team of three… random people please go away! Last but not least, all rooms are double rooms. In some hospitals, you can pay to have it be private if it’s a slow night. My hospital didn’t have that mechanism available. I got lucky though, no one was in my room. But in order for my husband to spend the night, he had to pay 170 Euros (roughly $190) per night! That was a bit steep for such a vulnerable time. Not cool. Oh yeah, there are also a lot of walk-ins everyday into your room post delivery. Docs in the morning, cleaning ladies, food service, nurses to take your vitals.. it felt like a never ending stream.
Other than that, the overall experience was a positive one.