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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Royal Baby and Giving Birth Worldwide

Something a little different today. Let's talk pregnancy! I have a question. As I was following the birth of the royal baby this week, there was discussion (on CNN) regarding the differences in maternity care & the birthing process in the UK vs US. I found the differences to be interesting and wanted to ask my readers (US, UK, Asia, Australia, Italy, Germany, Russia etc.) if YOU like the system in place (as it relates to pregnancy, maternity care etc) in YOUR country?

In the United Kingdom (source)(source)
-Medical care, delivery, hospital stay, prescriptions etc. are FREE (covered by the NHS)
-Click HERE for everything about UK pregnancy and baby care.
-You have a choice to deliver in hospital, at home or birth centre/midwifery unit.
-Emphasis is on "natural" birth, instead of a c-section.
-Epidurals are not commonly used in the UK; patients are giving laughing gas and birthing tubs.
-Uncomplicated births are overseen by midwives and NOT a doctor.
-Midwives ALSO handle prenatal care (you may get a different midwife for each checkup)
-High risk pregnancies are overseen by doctors.
-Mothers go home anywhere from 6 - 24 hours after giving birth.
-After delivery, the baby stays in the SAME room with the mother (not a separate room)
-A midwife checks on you 24 hours after you get home with the baby. A nurse (health visitor) checks on you 10 days after you get home. They're also trained to detect post-postpartum depression.
-Mothers get 52 weeks off from their job! 36 of which are paid! Dads get 2 weeks paternity leave!

In the United States
-Private Insurance, Medicaid for low income pregnant women, Children's Health Insurance Program
-The majority of deliveries occur in a hospital setting.
-The c-section rate in the US is 3x higher than the UK. There is a lower "natural" birth rate in the US.
-Doctors (ob/gyns) oversee the 9 month pregnancy from beginning to end, nurses (RNs) help the doctor, anesthesiologists administer the epidural, midwives (not as popular). Pediatricians oversee the care of the infant.
-Mothers usually go home anywhere from 24 - 72 hours after giving birth.
-Mothers must bring their new babies to a series of pediatric medical appointments. New mothers are evaluated for postpartum depression 6 weeks after giving birth and none thereafter.
-Mothers get 12 weeks maternity leave (Family Medical Leave Act); Fathers get ??? (I didn't find anything)

all pictures via instagram
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  1. fathers often get paid family leave if they want I think. my hubby took it. it's a percentage of your salary but later on he just took paid vacation so he could get his full salary. how cute is the royal baby!!!

  2. I have to agree that the British system is pretty generous as a former recipient of their healthcare system.

    It is funny that both Americans and Brits may be less cognizant of actual health care costs for procedures that are routine.

    I'd just love to live in a Scandanavian country if I had kids - 1 year of maternity leave that can be split between the mom and dad! Wow!

    Chic 'n Cheap Living

  3. congrats to royal family!


  4. This is cool :) I've had both of my girls here in the UK and the experience was brilliant. My midwives and staff were top notch, I loved them. The care was far beyond any that I ever had in America (Michigan) and I could never even think to have any children there now, haha. You're looked after so well from the start. Here in Scotland, which may be a whole UK thing is that you get to keep a hold of your pregnancy records as well, you bring them with you to every appointment, I liked that. I got to read any notes and ask questions if I had any. And the staff is so with it answering questions, they are pros. I was super impressed. With my first, I was in the hospital for a few days & when I had my second they had changed the time limit, so I got to go home just hours after giving birth, haha. I was getting my oldest to school hours after giving birth to my second. Hahaha. I was walking two blocks every day while pregnant with my second up until the very day I gave birth. People kept asking me if I was crazy. But, I had bad insomnia towards the end & the walking helped. The after care was super too, doctor comes the first day, then the midwife the next for some weeks and then the health visitor. And these ladies are always on hand, you can call them any time & they will come out to see you. I was blown away. America spends all the money making their hospitals look like hotels, but you can't find service like that, and so many go without insurance. It needs to change. Another reason to love the UK, hahahah!! Have a great day doll xx

  5. This is a really interesting post. I don't know a lot about this topic but from what I can tell we seem more similar to the US system. There are a lot of aspects to the UK system that I was really surprised about.

  6. I am soooooooooooooooo moving to the UK for my next birth experience.



    But it would have been nice to give birth, via C-secion (like my last two), for free.

  7. I have to say, these contrasts blew me away - maternity leave in the US is still only twelve weeks?! How can than be? In Canada parents are given 52 weeks plus vacation they accrue during that time depending on their seniority where the work, so a maternity leave could potentially extend as long as 59 weeks... the mother and father of the child may share those 52+ weeks any way they choose, as long as their time off work is equal to the period to which they are entitled. And I'm pretty sure the benefits in France are even better!

  8. First of all congrats to the royal couple. I only moved to Switzerland 6 months ago, so I don't know how the system works here, but looking at how medical care is here, I'd guess it's super expensive, super strict and that insurance doesn't cover shit... I love Switzerland, but Belgium was definitely A LOT better when it came to health care.

  9. All I can say to us South Africans unless you have an amazing medical insurance sometimes mothers are sent on their way practically "immediately" after birth this totally proves our health care system is really lacking.

  10. Not being preggers I can't answer your question about what it's like here in Australia, sorry Kim!

    I do feel sorry for William and Kate though with all the media frenzy. I confess I don't understand it, it's just a baby! haha.

    Away From Blue

  11. Sounds nice.
    I hate the csection push in this country.
    I will say, I think it's common place to keep babies in the room with the mom these days.
    Interesting post darling. :)
    Looks like you really did your research.

  12. Love my boys--but I'm so glad the birthing days are long past (my "baby" turns 26 in December!). :) I must say there are some enviable features in the UK's plan, tho... I really like the fact that babes stay in the same room as the mommies do. xo T.

  13. hiya Kim,
    Here in Turkey it's more like in the UK. The social securty is high and you don't have to pay if you choose a government hospital, not a private hospital. Mothers can get 1 year off ( 4 months paid and rest unpaid).Also, when your break finishes you can take 1 day off when you start working. But I know that this social security thing at maternity and birth is best in Switzerland and in Germany than in the rest of the world.

  14. I'm not really sure what happens here in my country when it comes to pregnancies or maternity care but I can tell that UK's plan is very generous. I mean, almost a year off for mothers? Wow! And even fathers get some time off. Really generous!

  15. Hello doll, you brought up an interesting subject. Italy has very similar rules to the UK, except for the post-partum visits at home, which are not foreseen. Natural birth is preferred, and epidural is given provided you have undergone a "suitability" test one month before the foreseen date of birth. Midwives take care of the giving-birth procedure, and a doctor checks on you from time to time. Honestly I think that social security services in the US could do more. Do you agree?
    Coco et La vie en rose
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  16. Hi Kim, what an interesting topic. I echo Coco since I am also Italian, system are pretty similar to Uk. I am pretty shaken about US instead..I think is a shame father didnt get any weeks and the ones who get the mother are really few. Plus I think they should prefer the natural birth much more than the c-section. Kisses dear xo

  17. The Canadian system is a mix of both the UK and the USA, but I must admit I prefer the UK version.
    Over here, an OB-GYN is in charge of the pregnancy from beginning to end, and most of all the fees are paid by our OHIP (provincial health plan). We also get a long mat-leave.

  18. That is crazy that in the UK the mother can take up to an entire year off for maternity leave!

    The Tiny Heart
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  19. When I still wanted children, years ago, I desperately wanted to move to the other side of the pond because they have way better benefits for mothers, etc. Now that I don't want kids, I STILL want to move there! :)

  20. Wow I didn't realize the midwives were still around! And no epidurals in the UK?? It's interesting to see all the differences.. thanks for sharing this and welcome royal baby! xx Kat

    Love and Ace

  21. SO interesting, I'm surprised with all this chat about the royal baby (and I have happily given into it myself) that I haven't read these facts already! Thanks for sharing!
    xx, Emily
    shell chic'd

  22. Yep, shoulda had my son in the UK.
    I had a C-section (no choice here since I had some complications) and went home after 5 days. My nurses and doctors were amazing and for some reason I had quite a large suite in which to recover. Let's just say it was the size of a NYC apartment.
    The downside: I did not receive a postpartum evaluation, breastfeeding was drilled into every mother as the ONLY option regardless of any struggles, and my 12 week maternity leave was UNPAID! The joys of working back then for a private company that did not need to follow federal guidelines since it had under 50 employees.

  23. How awesome that the UK mommies get a year of maternity leave! Same in Canada I believe. I wish the US was the same.

    always, koru kate

  24. Kim,

    This was a very interesting post. Although I am not a mom, I have many nieces and nephews. It's interesting to see what a difference there is between the UK/US. I think the US really should raise the amount of maternity leave for working mothers. The three month is nearly unrealistic and such a short period of time. I did not know the UK wasn't as "pro - epidural" as we are here. OUCHIE!!! ;)

    Thanks for sharing! xo


  25. I think the UK rules sound much better than the US! I think paternity leave for dads depends on their jobs? Not sure exactly.
    So excited for Will&Kate though!
    xoxo Aimee

  26. Seems like the UK is doing a lot better in this issue!
    If i had kids, i think Sweden would be a great place to have them....

  27. First of all, cute royal baby! I'm so curious about what his name will be :)

    In Spain the maternity experience is quite similar to the US - except that national health insurance covers all expenses, or at least I think so, but I'm that sure anymore as I haven't lived there for a while neither have a child. Spain has also been blacklisted recently for the high rate of c-sections praticed and the overuse of the epidural. Women give birth at hospital and usually stay there at least for 2 or 3 days if things go well, longer if there are complications.

    In the Netherlands, the whole 'natural experience' is trending and many women choose to give birth at home - and all expats say terrified that we would never have a child in the Netherlands, as this is so uncommon for most European countries nowadays. So, women tend to prefer a natural labour and are attended only by a midwife at home. If they have to go to hospital, they hardly ever stay overnight at least there are severe complications. C-sections and epidural are highly disregarded as well.

    Have a lovely week, Kim!
    xoxo Irene

  28. Very interesting topic and discussion here Kim. Here in Canada, our Health Care System is similar to the UK and most of Western European countries like France and Sweden. We have a National Health Care system too. Free of charge. Except for prescriptions which is mostly covered by Insurance from Employers Benefits. Then for our Retirees starting at age 65, prescription is Free of charge.

    As for the giving birth, it is free of charge as covered by the National Health Care System. Mid-wives are not part of the system though. It is mostly nurses. Doctors are always present. Then the mother gets 1 yr Maternity Leave. If employed by the Government, she gets 10 mths 100% fully paid based on her salary then the 2 mths by Unemployment Insurance. If privately employed, the Employer pays for the 3 wks fully paid from salary and the rest from Employment Insurance. Paternity leave here is 3wks fully paid by Employer. It's not bad. Both parents are fully supported by their Employers and by our Health Care system.

    Here in Canada, Natural Birth is highly encouraged and first preference. Only use C-section when absolutely necessary but never the first choice.

    Our National Health Care system is always the target there in the USA which leads some to call Canada "Socialists." But I would rather be a "Socialists" with a National Health Care program than live in the USA.

    Have a wonderful week, Pamela

  29. I so wish I live in UK right now. The maternity policy here in the States is so bad. Moms have to go back after 6 weeks when you have normal delivery. That's not enough time to bond with your child at all. We pay so much for tax and get so little back

  30. I am very glad for the royal family! Great news:)

  31. It sure sounds like I would love to deliver in the UK in future. I like all your summarised points. My country is facing an ageing population and slowly, the govt is changing some benefits to encourage the citizens to have more children. But many of us still don't think it's enough.

  32. To add on, I'm really happy for William and Kate. (Haha... I addressed them so informally as if they are my frenz). They are truly my favourite couple.

    I'm sorry I disappeared for quite a while on blogger. I was busy trying to finish up all my work before I went for a holiday to Italy. I came back on Friday and I'm certainly having the blues.

  33. Adorable baby :)

    New post - Kisses

  34. I think in Spain is more similar to UK. We are happy with the system.
    Kisses honey

  35. Not all maternity leaves in the U.S. are paid, it depends on the company. The only legal thing is they can't give your job away while you're on leave. I would love 52 weeks off with more than half paid! That is pretty amazing.

    xo, Yi-chia
    Always Maylee

  36. 52 weeks?!?!?!?! Whaaaaaaa?! That is incredible! That's it..I'm moving before January! Haha..jk. I was going to say what Yi-chia said - I work for a small company & we have no maternity leave policy. I know in California there is some kind of state assistance if your company doesn't provide paid maternity leave but here in good ole' Utah there's nothin. I suspect it's because us women are supposed to be at home raisin the babies & not going to work. Oh is what it is, I guess! Thanks for this post Kim, very interesting! And I kind of love that there will be another King George someday! :-)

  37. Awesome post Kim. What an eye opener about the system on the U.K.. I was kind of shock knowing I could only take up to 12 weeks of FMLA (U.S.) but would only get paid for 6 weeks (66.something %, not even full unless you use your vacation to substitute for full paycheck). Pretty suck indeed. I chose to stay just 7 weeks and jumped right back to work.

    Back home in Thailand, C-Section is a norm but natural birth is not popular at all. It is not widely encouraged by doctors. People like the convenience so they schedule the dates to deliver. Pretty crazy.

  38. Great post!!

    Only thing I would like to comment on is the 'UK for Free'. Just like medicaid and medicare systems here in the U.S, the NHS is paid for by taxes. So while the costs aren't paid at time of delivery, they still come from UK citizens.

    The comparison is so interesting. Fun and insightful way to look at the Royal Baby Frenzy!


  39. I'm in the UK, most mothers take around a year off when they have had a child, but maternity pay isn't the full amount of pay. I believe it decreases after so many weeks. I've never had a kid though so I don't know the details.

    Corinne x

  40. Hi Kim! great post! ^^

  41. Interesting post Kim, coming from Safrica, things are really different. There is 3-4 months paid maternity leave for mums and some companies offer paternity leave as well. People who are unemployed get a child grant and free baby formula to take care of their kids, this can go on for a very long time.

  42. interesting facts. when my kids were born (in the US), we did have a home nurse come visit us about 2 weeks after. i liked that a lot. i didn't get epidurals, but laughing gas would have been pretty funny!!

  43. I am a Brit but don't have children so was quite surprised how good the system is in the UK but then again my taxes pay for this system ;-)

  44. Oh yeah and we are supposed to have the greatest healthcare system in the world..hhmm. Remember the Olympics and the opening? How proud they are of their health care system. That was a total send up to the US.

    Ali of

    Dressing Ken

  45. The system in the UK sure sounds better overall than the US. Mothers also get 52 weeks mat leave in Canada from what I know. Btw how gracious and cute are Will and Kate.

    Rowena @ rolala loves

  46. Kim, it's so nice that both the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge looked so happy with their baby. Congratulations to them both!

  47. Great info, Kim. I didn't know that the U.S. and the U.K. were that different when it came to the birthing process. I did know and fully support their longer maternity leave, and I think U.S. dads should get a few weeks off as well after the birth that would be really helpful to new moms.

  48. She is one of the most beautiful post-baby mommies I've ever seen, although I guess most women don't have their hair and makeup done before they leave the hospital {maybe they should, after all it will be in their scrap books forever, haha}. Loved that you mention the differences in medical care. It seems everyone has a C section nowadays.

    xo Mary Jo

  49. YES, i remember looking into this when i had my son, and we have some of the worst maternity benefits!!
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  50. Medical care does seem a lot better in so many other countries. We still have a long way to come.

    Loved seeing the photos of kate and william and their new baby. so sweet!

    Chic on the Cheap

  51. Quite a constrast between the two. I was eyeing off the 32 weeks paid leave in the UK! That would be brilliant as a new mum although I wonder if it impacts employers hiring women of certain ages and in relationships/married? We get a year off maternity here but I think it is 3 months paid. The UK is looking better to me at this point!

    - Mandi

  52. thanks for sharing these fun facts and beautiful pics!! I'm so excited for the new Prince!

  53. awee so exciting love the facts uk seems way nicer for having babies lol

  54. Such an interesting post Kim. This is what I enjoy about your lovely blog - the varied posts. We never know what's coming next! I enjoyed reading about the differences between the US and here in the UK. What a lovley selection of photos you chose too. We were glued to the TV waiting for a glimpse of the Prince and what a cutey he is!

  55. Hi Kim! license here in Peru at work is only for three months, and pregnancy control is from the first month when you give birth, you can go home after 24 hours if your childbirth was uncomplicated.

  56. Hi Kim,I do like that the English system gives free care, there are less C sections, more care by midwives for uncomplicated pregnancies, and a lot of paid maternity leave. The U.S system seems complicated to me, I don't fully understand it, but I'm not keen on the increased C section rate. If a C section is not really needed it's added cost and risks to mother's and babies that aren't warranted. I'm sure there's a direct link between this issue, and the lack of midwife care. Generally, I think the system in Australia is closer to the English one. You can be cared for by a midwife if your pregnancy is uncomplicated, if you have insurance they pay, otherwise it's paid for by the government. I midwife or nurse visits at least once, as well as seeing a Dr for check ups for Mum and bub at least once after you go home.

  57. This is truly an interesting subject Kim. I've never looked into this thing but I do hear some tips from my friends who are moms now. Ok, let me share a little on this subject referring to my country:

    -Insurance does not cover any sorts of delivery but one can deliver for free in a general hospital (government own)
    -In private hospital, natural birth range from RM8k - 10k (USD2.6k - 3k) and C-section starts from RM10 - RM16k (USD3k - 5k) depending on how complicated it is. Lately I've heard quite a few friends complaining that doctors would like to earn more money out of the C-section and it's faster, so the doctors highly recommend C-section and not natural birth.
    -Same as the US, doctors (ob/gyns) oversee the 9 month pregnancy from beginning to end, nurses (RNs) help the doctor, anesthesiologists administer the epidural, midwives or we call it post-pregnancy lady and she's hired to take care of the food, baby and mom for a month.
    -For natural birth, mothers are discharged anywhere from 24 - 48 hours after giving birth. C-section moms usually get discharged from 48-72 hours
    -Mothers get 60-90days maternity leave (depending on companies allowance); Fathers shouldn't go on leave because someone has to earn the money here to pay the delivery charges!

    There you go..some in sight of what we have here =)

  58. Wow, these facts are humbling and definitely make us think about when we have kids one day and the issues that will arise.
    Great write-up Kim!
    XO Wil Haris

  59. The UK system is so much better than ours! I had a home birth with midwives and I feel like such an anomaly. My husband got one week of paid paternity leave. I feel like we could do way better as a nation... On a lighter note, hooray for my daughter's future boyfriend being born! ;)

  60. Dude, I wanna trade! I knew a bit about this from my French course, I like that men get time off work as well, and paid time off!

  61. Awww yay I'm so happy for them with their lovely baby boy! :-)

    But now for the nitty gritty; I think the NHS system in the UK is fantastic - I live there but am from New Zealand, where you have to pay for healthcare and things are just not as accessible.
    It's not perfect by any means, but it's great nontheless!

    Vanessa x

  62. Thank you for sharing the information.

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