10 tips for pregnancy & delivery in Paris
- Do your paper work every week! (You have till the 14th week to declare pregnancy.)
- Register with a hospital asap! (Do your research first, figure out what you want.)
- Find a midwife asap. (Otherwise it will be difficult to find one for the reeducation of the perineum after the delivery.)
- The breathing really works! – take the workshops with your midwife or at the hospital.
- Get your nursery ready before the delivery to come home to a relaxing home.
- Get a romper bag – it makes changing diapers so much easier and is more comfortable for the baby.
- You have a “carte vitale” but you need a “mutuelle 100%” – an extra health insurance to cover your costs.
- Don´t let them scare you and bully you to do unnecessary tests-the “carte vitale” won´t cover these! And you might end up crying and worrying instead of enjoying your pregnancy.
- Trust yourself, trust your body. Prenatal yoga is a great support tool to help to deal with your new sized body. Big is beautiful 😉
- Spent your childbed IN bed (there is a reason why it´s called childBED) and have someone make you a chicken soup from scratch. Sleep when your baby sleeps.
Becoming a parent does change your life utterly! Paris is a dream city if you are into food, wine, concerts, art exhibitions and again food, wine, party, art… It´s like Disneyland for mid-twenties. And then you fall in love in the city of love and you decide to have a baby. And you start to see Paris very differently. From where to have your next apero to how to fit a stroller into the metro? Wait, do I still want to take metro with all these grumpy people pushing each other around and all these diseases floating freely? One thing is sure about rules in Parisian metro: if someone says “pardon” it´s just the warning for you that you are going to kicked by his elbow in your side or back.
Anyway the way you look at things change. One internal part of this change means that you are getting to know the French system way better than you ever expected. There are all these rules and tons of paper work per example: you have to declare your pregnancy officially till the 14th week of pregnancy. (Your doctor or your gynaecologist will give you red and blue papers to fill out to declare pregnancy.) Or did you know that here you have to apply for a hospital? Wherever you go in the beginning people will ask you with eye popping faces if you already registered to a hospital? And if you say no, they give you crazy looks and tell you to hurry up cause we are in Paris! So, yes I did that, after days of research on my options I applied and was accepted in my favourite hospital which is very well known maternity and the only winner in France of the “friend of babies” award. The Bluets is mainly influenced my the ideas of Dr. Lamaze known today as the Lamaze-method or in French literally called “giving birth without pain”. Here they will try their best to help you to have a natural birth. And they won´t separate mother and child after birth, actually the first 2h it will be allowed to rest on your chest! They also will show you how breastfeeding works. My experience was superb, everybody working there loves their jobs and I felt it good hands at all times. Even I could´t have my dream delivery as the pool was out of function, at least I was able to have a natural birth. Fair enough!
I choose to be accompanied by the midwives of the hospital but you should know that many midwifes in Paris only accept women for the reeducation after birth that they have accompanied during their pregnancy. Again, I was lucky, I found a great midwife, a very sweet woman who did a great job with the reeducation and always shared her knowledge about any other question you might have. So if you choose like me to see the midwifes of the hospital try to get a midwife before delivery who will come and visit you at home after giving birth. “Sage-femme à domicile” is what you are looking for and in France you are reimbursed for the visits during the first 7 days I think, maybe 10 days.
One thing that is different here in France is that a gynaecologist can´t do ultrasounds, you will have to go to a specialist. In France they do 3 ultrasounds during pregnancy. (Some countries have reduced to one ultrasound. Actually there are huge differences within the EU p.ex. if your water breaks but you don´t have any contractions here you get antibiotics after 12 hours and a caesarean is most likely to happen after 24h while in the UK you have 24h to take antibiotics and after 48h labour you will be induced for labour. Another example about the differences within the EU many Dutch women go for home-birthing (abt 30%) while in France the system made it kind of impossible as the insurance for midwifes is so high that none of them can afford it to offer home-birth anymore.) Anyway my point is you will see a lot of practitioners and be surprised that the doctor can´t do this and that and has to sent you to another specialist. Try to find someone who has both licences. I changed my bullying gynaecologist as she was just trying to squeeze money out of us with unnecessary tests and instead found a respectful gynaecologist who has a licence to do ultrasounds too! Saving me lots of stress and time!
About releasing stress, I did find the prenatal yoga class very helpful. It was way more sporty than expected but it was good become aware of what you can do with your body while being pregnant. Gives you certain kind of confidence. My favourite positions were the watch against lower back pain and the butterfly to stretch the pelvis. Swimming was relaxing too, I mean I loved my big round belly but it was nice to float sometimes and feel weightless. In the preparation workshops I met many women who had problems with their skin being itchy and so on… as I oiled my belly every morning with Weleda pregnancy oil I have never experienced any problems. A few other things that might ease your pregnancy: underwear by noppies and tights by mamalicious. And against the nausea, a trick from my beloved book “consultation with a midwife”, smelling peppermint oil and drinking bubbly water with lemon juice did seriously help! The herbal tea with raspberry leaves kept me chillaxed.
Now in your 2nd trimester you have your routine for blood tests, doctors, midwifes and so on it´s about time to think about getting your nursery ready. People will be a bit surprised and maybe give you starring looks but believe me once you had the baby that´s the only thing you want to take care of. And not where to put a baby bed, how many bodies to buy or whatever. It´s not French customs to do this and people might ask you: ” What if something goes wrong and you already have all these things?” Don´t get infected by their fears, it´s no way to live a life full of fears and just wait till things happen to you. Especially when you pregnant fear is not good for you, I even changed doctors who were to negative and not at all supportive to keep this negativity out of my daily life. And you will be so much more at ease if 4-6 weeks before delivery you follow your nest-building instincts and get your hospital bag and your nursery ready. Once you have had your baby and you get back home stay in bed and let your partner pamper you for the next 10 days (or more). Don´t push yourself too early to get back on the feed to clean. Stay in bed, eat your soup, drink your nursing tea and sleep whenever the baby is sleeping too! And don´t be shy to tell visitors that you need to rest. The only one you should care about right now is yourself and the baby- not them and not the laundry! 😉 Nursing tea and alcohol free malt “beer” known as Spelty or Vita Malt helped get the milk flow started. ( Available in every organic supermarket or Naturlia) Taking Arnica already a week before delivery did do wonders for my healing process, talk to your midwife or better a homeopath. The first 6 weeks, early and late childbed are truly a special time, enjoy every moment of it!
Wishing everybody a beautiful pregnancy and your dream delivery to come true!
Maternity: Les Bluets 4 Rue Lasson, 75012 Paris, France
Gynaecologist + ultrasounds: Dr. Jérémy Seror several locations in town
Midwives: Marceline Carpène-Retailleau 9 Villa du Bel air, 75012 Paris, France (reeducation of the perineum) (highly recommend her, next time I will see a midwife from the beginning on)
Juliane Bordeux-Monfort 80 Rue de la Roquette, 75011 Paris, France (home visits)
(for English speaking midwife check the map)
Pregnancy diabetes: Hôpital Saint-Antoine, 184 r. du Fg Saint-Antoine 75112 Paris
most comforting and educating book: Consultation with a midwife by Stadelmann
Prenatal Yoga with Delphine at L´Echappee but there are classes everywhere in town
Swimming pool at L´Espace Oberkampf, clean and quite
Shopping for maternity & nursing cloths see map yellow markers ( I will write an extra post soon)
Restaurants that have welcomed us during pregnancy:
Juveniles – French Scottish Restaurant and my “coup de coeur” de Paris. 100% anti-depressive and my safe bet for lunch. (16€ lunch set menu, a la carte 6-8€ starters, 15-25€ main and 9€ desserts)
Le Bistro Mericourt – won my heart by storm, they adjusted every dish to the needs of a pregnant woman- that was a real treat. The chef has children himself thus he knows what you can and can´t eat. Service was just amazing and the food was divine. 5 stars! (45 or 55 € menu without wine, no carte)
La Dispensa – great food, great service, organic, Italian, what else does one want? (10-15€ a main dish)