French Village and Country Life
No 4: Having a baby in France
IT'S A BOY!!!
Alexander.... born 24th January 2000 in Agen, Lot et Garonne, to Claire and Johnathan Mallalieu. See special report in 'Village and Country Life' end of home page.
Claire and Johnathan Mallalieu came to Vialex International in 1998 in search of a nice big home in which to settle down. They bought the huge old Presbitery in Beauville through Vialex ( just around the corner from our offices) and started to renovate it in 1999. Johnathan moved out first to help in the renovation and then he got himself a super job teaching music at a new international school ( Aerospatiale etc)) in Toulouse. Claire followed him out in November, with a distinctly plump look about her! Yes, she was 7 months pregnant and intent on having her baby out here. Baby Alexander was born at the General Hospital of Agen on 24th January. Claire found settling into a new village and having her baby here in France a very positive experience.
Here is her story........
Baby Alexander and Parents with Violette Lafite ( left, Director of Vialex)
The first thing I did upon arriving in France was to visit my local Doctor who referred me to a consultant gynaecologist in Agen. From thereon it was my consultant who oversaw my pregnancy and delivery. I couldn't recommend Agen Hospital more highly...... modern, efficient and friendly !!
If you are arriving in France mid-way through a pregnancy then bring a copy of your home countries hospital file. This way you avoid repetitive blood tests, though there are a few required here and not in the UK ( toxoplasmosis for instance) The hospital does run ante-natal classes, but my late arrival in France and timing of the classses precluded my attendance. In the event, I had a miraculously pain-free and swift delivery ( only 7 hours) ;.. with the help of an epidural !
One of the greatest perks of giving birth in France is the practice of putting new mothers in individual rooms... mine had an en suite bathroom, television and direct dial telephone ( both local and international) Another is that they keep you in for 4-5 days in which time they teach you all you need to know for returning home.... nappy changing, bathing, breastfeeding etc. Unlike the UK, there is no mid-wife support team undertaking home visits, so it pays to stay in the hospital a while. At Agen, there is also a baby nursery where you can leave your baby overnight. He would be brought to me only when hungry.... enabling me to get some good nights rest.
Finally.... we all know about the French love for paperwork !!! If you are thinking of having a baby in France, note the following:
All maternity care is paid for by the Social Security.... though you must have a social security number. Mine had not come through in time, but the Hospital is kindly holding on to the 8000F bill until I can give them the number. The hospital has assistants who come and help sort out paperwork for you.
If pregnant and living in France it is obligatory to make a declaration of your pregnancy to the Social Security Office and there are tight time limits for this. I would advise anyone to get in touch with their ofice as soon as the pregnancy is confirmed ( I am still trying to make a retrospective declaration !)
Child benefit is means tested
The birth of the child must be registered with the Mairie of the place of birth within 3 days. The hospital will do this for you if you wish, and several copies of the birth certificate are instantly provided to you. The Mairie will also give you an updated Fiche d'Etat Familiale including baby.
There is no obligation to register the birth of a British child with the British Consulate, however, if you wish, you may ensure that the birth is included among the records of the General Register Office in London. To do this request a form from the Consulate (>Tel 01 44 51 31 00).The cost is approximately £100 for registration and copy of a birth certificate.
(Note from the Editor, Carl Scholfield. I recommend that baby is registered in UK or home of his nationality whenever possible. I was born in Brazil, and discovered at the age of 17 1/2 when I was again living in England that I had not been registered in UK..... Frantic efforts were required to get registered before my 18th birthday, to avoid being called up by the Brazilian army !!!)
A child born in France to British parents does not automatically become a French national and cannot apply for a French passport. An application for a British passport can be made to the British Embassy in Paris...... as long as the child remains in France at the time of application.
Mothers to be wishing to learn more can contact Claire via our contact form
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