Finding the right hospital to have your baby can be daunting, especially for first-time mums or if your previous births didn’t go as you’d have liked. If you’re expecting and decide to have your baby through the public health system in Madrid, you have the option to choose the hospital that you give birth in.
Once you have your first visit with your GP/doctor and matrona (midwife) you’ll be assigned to your closest hospital. Any subsequent blood tests and gynaecological visits will either take place in that hospital or in the corresponding centro de especialidades (health speciality centre). In my case, for example, since I live in Vallecas, I was assigned to Hospital Infanta Leonor, and the Centro de Especialidades Federica Montseny. Here, I had my first visits with the gynaecologist and my first blood tests.
After I started to look at maternity hospitals in Madrid, and the facilities that they had, I decided that I’d prefer to give birth at Hospital Universitario de Torrejón. At my next appointment with the gynaecologist, I asked to be transferred and he was able to process the paperwork for me. My subsequent appointments were all scheduled in the hospital in Torrejón, apart from the gestational diabetes glucose test which was done in the Centro de Especialidades Torrejón de Ardoz.
If you haven’t decided on a hospital yet, you can get in touch with whichever hospitals that you are considering and ask if they do a “visita guiada” (guided tour) or if they have open days for expecting parents. These visits give you an idea of the facilities that they have and will also give you an opportunity to ask any questions that you may have.
If you have been assigned to a hospital, but change your mind last minute, that’s not a problem either- just make sure to bring your hospital notes with you.
What factors should you consider when choosing a maternity hospital?
- Distance from your home: It’s a fantastic feeling when you find a hospital that has everything that you’re looking for, but don’t forget to bear in mind the amount of time that you’ll spend in a car or a taxi on the way there once baby decides to make an appearance.
- Birth plan: Have you thought about how you’d like to give birth? Does the hospital respect your choices regarding pain management, interventions, after-birth care? Do they encourage skin-to-skin contact? Your choices are important, so finding a maternity hospital that respects them is crucial.
- Facilities: Have you considered your pain management choices? Does your hospital have a birthing pool or access to nitrous oxide? Are there lactation consultants? By getting in touch with the hospital, they should be able to go through your birth plan options in detail.
- Hospital policies: Does the hospital limit the number of people who can accompany you during the birth, or do they have a strict visitor policy? Can your partner stay in the room with you after the baby is born?
- Accommodation: Are rooms private or shared? What’s the accommodation like? You’ll more than likely be spending at least three days in the hospital, so it’s good to know that you’ll be comfortable during your stay.
- Language: If you’re an expat having a baby in Madrid, it’s important to bear in mind that not every staff member will speak English. Even if you do speak Spanish, giving birth is a stressful experience so if you feel that you may struggle with the language, it’s worth asking in the hospital if a translator can be provided or if there are staff with a working command of the language.
No matter which maternity hospital you choose to have your baby in, don’t be afraid to ask questions and make sure that you’re happy with your choice! Let us know your experience of giving birth in Madrid in the comments.