Your interactive family guide to Spain as recommended by local mums | Last updated 7 months ago

Interviews with Experts

Giving Birth

  • Midwife Judith Cadogan

    "I can help post-natally which I think is extremely important especially if you have no immediate family close by to help. This may involve care of the new born baby, breast feeding, bottle feeding, bathing, nappy advice, weaning & childcare. Help for the new mother, general health care, weight loss, time management, future family planning advise, post-natal blues. Adjusting to the new addition of the family including the father & siblings." (JC, Oct 2010)

    Click here to read the full interview wtih Judith

  • IVF Expert Ruth Pellow

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    "When I started my fertility career in the 90´s so much was taboo and the issue of donor anything was completely unheard of while today IVF is seen as not quite the norm but close and people see donation as a means to an end in having a child rather than as a bad thing to do" (RP, Oct 2010)

    Click here to read the full interview with Ruth

  • Gynaecologist Dra Leila Onbargi

    "The caesarean section rate has increased in the developed world and not just in Catalunya. Currently the C-section rate is about 22% in Spain and up to 30% in private clinics. This is due to several factors, including advanced maternal age of patients having their first child which are associated with greater risk factors, recommendations against the practice of breech vaginal deliveries, twin pregnancies (on the rise because of assisted reproductive technology in patients with infertility) which are more likely to present suboptimal foetal position at birth, and of course previous caesareans which make a second caesarean more likely. We also need to mention the practice of “defensive” medicine as patients are intolerant to complications during labour and doctors want to avoid malpractice suits." (LO, Dec 2008)

    Please click here to read an interview with Dra Leila Onbargi

  • Doula Juliette Allard on natural childbirth

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    "Be very active at looking for information and look for the right place to give birth early in the pregnancy, 9 months go very fast. The midwives are very busy so better to meet and hire one early before their schedule is too full and you have no option. If you want a natural birth and if your choice is the public hospital, the best one is actually San Pau in Barcelona or Santa catarina in Girona so ask for a referall from the Cap Salud if that is not your designated hospital. If you take care of your preparation early on you have more time to relax and get ready for the big event!" (JA, June 2008)

    Click here to read the full interview with Juliette

  • Midwife Alex Weatherhead on childbirth in Spain

    "Some women choose to go back to their home country, others may pay to obtain private care i.e the natural birthing centre hospital near Alicante. Depending on the Doctors and Midwives you have on the day of your delivery this could determine how much choice you have. I dont think a natural birth can be guarenteed, but if you aware of your choices and depending on how assertive you are willing to be this may increase your options, and the ability to choose a natural birth. You should always try to discuss your options but sometimes intervention is required. It is best to have an open mind as labour and delivery can be unpredictable and the best outcome is a healthy mum and baby." (AW, Jan 2009)

    Click here for the full interview with Alex

  • Psychologist Nathalie Salaun on Postnatal Depression

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    "A women suffering from PND needs whatever support friends and family can give her. She probably feels overwhelmed by the task of looking after the baby, let alone doing the cleaning, cooking, shopping and all the practicalities involved in day to day living, so she certainly needs help with these. If you know someone suffering from PND, encourage her to be active and to treat herself, to spend some time alone with her friends and with her partner; listen to her and reassure her that you love her and that she will get through this; do not tell her to “snap out of it”, if she could, she would have done so. Depression is not a choice." (NS, Dec 2008)

    Please click here to read the full interview with Nathalie

  • Doula Shawn McSweeney

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    "I was shocked to discover that there was very little by way of natural birth movement, and what there was, was considered by mainstream hospitals to be radical and even dangerous. Hospital birth protocol did not follow evidence-based birth practices for normal labour; instead they consistently used many unnecessary medical interventions meant to treat exclusively pathological conditions on healthy normal births. Unfortunately, the tide is slow to turn. This meant and continues to means many unnecessary caesareans, episiotomies, deliveries with forceps or vacuum extraction, and a plethora of other unnecessary interventions. Many women I have spoken with feel traumatized by their births experiences, and I found that there was virtually no support for these women, and women wanting to birth using their bodies naturally." (SMS, Feb 2012)

    Click here to read the full interview with Shawn

  • Antenatal Expert Louise Morrison

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    "Out of the ten couples who had attended my traditional class only one other mum had had a good experience and I started to wonder whether this had anything to do with the quality of the education we had received. With the rise of video on the internet and continuing NHS cuts which were affecting antenatal provision I felt that good quality classes, available nationally were the way forward. I started researching and a year later the site was launched with the help of two really passionate and knowledgeable NHS midwives." (LM, Feb 2012)

    Click here to read the full interview with Louise

  • Midwife Diana Kosmic

    "The "normal" procedures here in Spain are very much based on the institutions protocol instead on the holistic and individual needs of the patient. There are mass screenings done without assesment for risk factors. Such as the plasma glucose testing, which here is sometimes done 3 times in pregnancy. In reality, this test is most accurate during a specific time period of the gestation, from 24-28 wks. It is unnecessary to do this and other tests on someone that does not present risk factors." (DK, Nov 2011)

    Click here to read the full interview with Diana

  • Midwife Anne Halpenny

    "In the Public Health system women, (once entitled to care - paying social security or their husbands are OR they have a form 121 from the NHS entitling them to care in another EU country for one year in relation to their pregnancy) present themselves to their Centro de Salud and request an appointment with the matrona as soon as they have a +pregnancy test. They then are seen by a mix of Drs depending on their risk factors throughout the pregnancy. Midwives have minimal input in antenatal care in the public system. Independent midwives can fill this gap. The minimal number of scans are four - at 11, 20, 32 & 40 weeks. Usually women go to their local hospital to give birth, but the law changed some years ago and women can now choose where they wish to go. They do not need to book as in the UK, but can in effect just turn up at the door. They can also request this via their Dr in the centro de salud towards the end of pregnancy." (AH, April 2010)

    Please click here to read the full interview with Anne

  • Midwife Mireia Marcos on homebirths in Spain

    "Doctors in general are very afraid of homebirth and believe that taking birth to hospital in the 60s saved many lives, which isnt actually true. Most doctors have never seen a normal birth in their lives. Of course they are against homebirth, in an old fashioned and paternalistic way. But they didnt have to make much effort beacuse women and midwives were as afraid as them and believed how dangerous it is too.." (MM, May 2010)

    Please click here to read the full interview with Mireia

  • Maternitas Postpartum Services - Rutger Diederix

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    "I believe that in Spain, as in other Mediterranean countries, the family plays a very important supportive role. Traditionally, families here are much more a provider of wellfare than in Northern countries. For example, you see the prolonged permanence of young (unemployed) adults in their family home. Often grandparents live together with the family. Similarly, when a family member has a baby there is a strong feeling of responsibility to help. In other European countries, the role of a family as a provider of support is often less important and this is then replaced by institutions or dedicated services. I do believe that the Spanish society is evolving away from this traditional system. Authorities provide cheap housing for young adults, you see the emergence of nursing homes and it is only a matter of time before postnatal care becomes more common." (RD, May 2010)

    Please click here to read an interview with Rutger

  • Gynecologist Dra Muñoz

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    "Spain is a developed country delivery with a Caesarean rate lower than the USA and others. Anyhow, concerns about the number of caesarean sections have been raised at the Spanish school of obstetricians. They have been developing some strict guides for good obstetrician care. These guidelines are actually being used in lots of hsopital centers in Spain."

    Click here to read the full interview Dra Muñoz

  • Breastfeeding Consultant Elvira Lopez

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    "In some hospitals there are nurses or workers that do help out with the inicial latching once you have the baby in your arms and explain the concept of feeding on demand, but its not very common unfortunately, and its mostly in the public hospitals. In the private hospitals they tend to give a handout telling mums not to feed on demand, to wait 3 hours between each feed and only allow the baby to feed for 15 minutes on each breast. And they will reprimand a mother feeding her baby for longer or if they need to take the baby away to weigh it, often preasuring mothers to top up new borns with formula, or worse still just feed them a bottle here and there while they take them to check on them, without the mother even being aware of it. This can be the best way to ensure breastfeeding isnt successful." (EL, May 2011)

    Click here to read the full interview with Elvira

  • Postnatal Doula Jane Stevens

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    "Unfortunately, no matter how many books a mother may have read, babies are not textbook, and many new mums these days have never even held a baby, unlike in the past, when large extended families were the norm. As a result, most need to be supported while they learn new skills, from mastering nappy-changing to introducing the foundations of a daily routine, at a pace that suits them. They need time to learn to recognise the needs of their baby, and how they express those needs (usually quite loudly!). Needless to say, this process takes twice as long if they’re trying to combine it with cooking, cleaning and entertaining, which is why I believe mothers should allow themselves a babymoon period.The early weeks with your newborn are very special – a time of recovery, discovery and phenomenal exhaustion! Some cultures have a six-week lying-in period, where the family rallies round to care for the new mum. That might not be practical in our society, but with a bit of support and encouragement from someone who can offer both practical support, encouragement and a little guidance, when needed, those early weeks with a new baby can still be a very special time." (JS, Jan 2015)

    Click here to read the full interview with Jane