Pregnancy and childbirth: USA vs France

Pregnancy and childbirth are an exceptional period and event in the life of a woman and her family. The course of your gynecological follow-up may have been different depending on the pregnancies if you have several. This event can be all the more different if you have chosen to give birth to your baby in a country other than your native country. There are differences in the care pathway of a pregnant woman in the USA. In this article, we highlight this comparison.

Tracking differences

There are a large number of differences in the gynecological follow-up of a pregnant woman between France and the United States. Whether it is for the frequency of examinations, ultrasounds or even concerning the preparation for childbirth.

Examinations during pregnancy

In the United States of America, the follow-up of your pregnancy depends mainly on the habits of your doctor and your state of health. There is therefore no single precise course of care. In general, appointments with your “ob-gyn” (gynecologist-obstetrician) are monthly. In some cases, particularly during the last trimester, these visits may be weekly. However, some checks or ultrasounds are less systematic if you do not have any complications or health problems. This is for example the case for the examination of the cervix, a check is made at the beginning of pregnancy and at each visit in the last month of pregnancy. In France, this examination is carried out at each visit to your gynecologist or midwife.

The medical teams in the USA are known to be very good and very caring, so you don’t have to worry, everything will be fine.

It is also advisable for expectant mothers to follow childbirth preparation sessions to apprehend this happy event in a serene way.

Another particularity of a pregnancy in the USA, the prenatal vitamins. They are popular in the United States. You can find it easily. It is of course advisable to talk to your doctor before consuming it.

The different structures

You will have the choice of where you want to give birth, there are several solutions:

1. The hospital: you can decide to give birth in the hospital where you are followed by your gynecologist-obstetrician (“ob-gyn”).

2. The birthing centers: this is a center in which midwives, doulas and coaches help you give birth in conditions similar to those at home. You can find double beds, sofa, coffee table or even bathtub for those who wish to give birth in water. You will be able to go home only a few hours after your delivery.

3. Home birth: you can choose to give birth at home by calling on a midwife or doulas.

Length of hospital stay

The length of your stay in the hospital after giving birth will depend on the course of your delivery, but also on your health insurance. On average, the length of time in hospital is two days for a basic delivery and three days for a cesarean delivery. Depending on your pick-up, you may be able to stay for up to four days. In France, in general, women stay four to five days in hospital. The lead time is therefore slightly shorter in the USA.

If you have good health insurance, you will have the chance to be installed in a comfortable room and to benefit from great attention from the staff of the establishment. You are not a patient, but a client.

Postpartum

Concerning postpartum, there is less difference between France and America. A follow-up of the constants of the mother and the baby will be carried out.

However, in the USA, verification of postpartum scarring is less systematic than in France. There is also no penile rehabilitation offered to mothers after childbirth in the USA. Indeed, it is considered that this work can be done alone, in a personal way. In France, support will be offered to you, so you can benefit from advice from health professionals on the matter.

The staff is once again very available and you can call on a midwife to advise you after your delivery, this is a much more widespread practice than in France.

Price differences

In the United States of America, health is a business where the majority of establishments are private. It is therefore necessary to anticipate the financial costs that this implies.

In the United States, the cost of childbirth depends on various factors.

● The establishment chosen;

● The type of delivery (natural way or caesarean section);

● The State where you give birth.

Indeed, childbirth will cost you more if you live in Ohio than in Alabama. On average, you will need between 20,000 and 50,000 dollars. To the cost of delivery, you will need to add the price of pre-delivery consultations (eg routine obstetric care) as well as potential post-delivery consultations. To be able to cover all of these costs, it is important to have good health coverage.

Good health insurance

You have the option of taking out local or international health insurance. Whatever your choice, it is essential to check the guarantees, waiting period, ceilings and deductible of the contract. In the majority of cases, you will need to subscribe to a maternity option in your contract to be covered. Don’t forget to check how long the care of the newborn is taken care of after delivery.

Whatever your choice of insurance, it is essential to check that you will be covered in the event of complications for both the mother and the child.

Medicaid

Medicaid is an American program that provides health insurance to people with low incomes. Only permanent residents for more than 5 years, under certain conditions of financial resources, are entitled to it. If you meet these conditions, your childbirth may be covered by Medicaid. However, States can define, within certain limits, their own criteria. It is therefore important to be well informed beforehand.

Local insurance

You can indeed subscribe to a local health insurance by checking the conditions of coverage related to maternity. We advise you to be careful about your choice. Check the care networks of the insurance company upstream: in fact, to be reimbursed, you will have to go through one of their service providers (doctors, laboratories, pharmacies, etc.).

The majority of American insurance companies operate on an out-of-pocket model. You will therefore have to pay part of the amount of your care. This point can be particularly dissuasive when you look at the price of childbirth in the USA.

International insurance

The main advantage of French insurance vs. an American insurance is that there is no co-payment system, out-of-pocket etc… Indeed, French insurance companies offer 100% coverage in the event of hospitalization, routine care or even current pharmaceutical costs.

In international health insurance contracts, in most cases maternity is optional.

So, giving birth in France or in the USA?

It’s a very personal choice. There are real differences in the monitoring of pregnancy between France and the USA.

In the USA, if you have good health insurance covering 100% of your childbirth costs, you will have the chance to have access to high-quality infrastructure and qualified personnel at your service. The surgical procedures performed during childbirth are in most cases less intrusive than in France (less episiotomy for example).

In France, you will benefit from better support before and after your birth. You will be constantly informed about your state of health and that of your baby. You will also be better informed in advance about anesthesia, for example. Finally, you will have access to postpartum rehabilitation which is non-existent in the USA.

In any case, childbirth in the USA is very expensive: being well covered is a priority. The santexpat.fr experts are at your disposal to find the solution best suited to your needs according to your state of residence and your profile.

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