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From translators to the baby bonus: 16 essential tips for new and expectant mothers in Italy

From translators to the baby bonus: 16 essential tips for new and expectant mothers in Italy
Photo: Joshua Rodriguez on Unsplash
Being pregnant or a new parent while living in a foreign country comes with plenty of challenges. New mum Shirin Georgani shares her advice for making sure you get all the support you're entitled to in Italy.
  1. Check your regional health authority’s website and look for the percorso di gravidanza (pregnancy pathway). Download any documents they have, or even apps.
  2. Register for a Fascicolo Sanitario Elettronico (online health record) if your health authority has one so that you can get all your blood results online – there will be a lot of blood and urine tests!
  3. Prepare to know and discuss your family history, including blood types for both you and partner.
  4. Register for a SPID so that you can apply for your Bonuses and Maternity Leave online without having to go to a Patronato.
  5. After your 6th month, apply for the Bonus Mamma Domani – make sure you ask your doctor at your check up at this time to complete the maternity certificate for you in advance – they should be able to log into the INPS website and do this at their clinic, you may or may not receive a copy. You may need this for your employer to request maternity leave too if applicable
  6. Sign up to the AUSL’s (local health authority’s) antenatal course – it’s usually free and may be in person or online but either way is invaluable for knowing how things work at your local hospital/birth centre.
  7. Find Facebook groups for local mums if you can or want to.
  8. All your prescriptions, tests and specialist appointments are free if they relate to the pregnancy, so if you have any problems, concerns or ailments get them seen to.
  9. Ask for a translator early on if you think you’ll benefit from having one.
  10. Look on YouTube to see if your local hospital has an online tour of the labour ward.
  11. Prepare to discuss your birth plan only when your care is transferred to hospital (preso in carico).
  12. Prepare to be internally examined at every visit. On the plus side you also get the opportunity to see your baby as you get a scan at every appointment.
  13. Don’t be offended if you get sent to the dietitian when you’re pregnant – most mums are, they can be very helpful and non-judgemental and help design a healthy balanced diet for you during pregnancy. 
  14. Discuss Covid restrictions and pain relief options when you get transferred to hospital – each might be different so it’s better to ask them directly than guess. Gas and air isn’t provided in Italy, nor is a TENS machine or any injections. Epidurals are the main pain relief option, you need to be cleared by the head anesthetist whilst you’re still pregnant to determine if you’re eligible – this is usually just a questionnaire – if you don’t do this you won’t be able to get an epidural on the day so better to be cleared for it even if you decide not to have it. Also, planned home births are very, very rare.
  15. Ask your AUSL, hospital or clinic what postnatal care is provided or what services you can request after your baby is born.
  16. Apply for your Baby Bonus within the first 3 months of baby being born to make sure you get it from their date of birth. You can do this online with INPS.

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Shirin is a former civil servant turned English language teacher-food blogger from London. She currently lives in Ferrara, Italy with her husband and their baby boy. She can be contacted via her instagram page at @myimmigrantkitchen


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