Giving birth in Moscow as a foreigner
Expat Sasha Baillie shares her own experiences about having a baby in Moscow.
When I moved to Moscow in the summer of 2006 I was already three months pregnant and began looking into the possibility of giving birth here. I was initially discouraged when I learnt that none of the international clinics, which seemed so well equipped, provided facilities to give birth.
However, I was reassured when I first visited the Perinatal Medical Centre (PNC), which had only just begun operating. The facilities are very modern and the hospital seemed to be extremely well equipped and clean. I was also impressed by the patient- (or rather client-) oriented approach of the staff, who were all very friendly and helpful.
My only concern remained that most of the staff only speaks Russian, whereas neither my husband nor myself could speak any Russian when we first arrived. Fortunately, the gynaecologist at the PNC who took care of me was able to speak some English. Yet it still meant dealing with all the administrative matters in Russian, as well as facing hours of labour with only Russian medical staff around, until the gynaecologist arrives (which is usually towards the end of labour). We were able to find an English and Russian speaking midwife from outside the PNC, who would be allowed to assist the birth and interpret in case of need. With this in mind, we decided to go ahead and have our baby here in Moscow at the PNC.
All went extremely well and our son was born in Moscow in February 2007.
We ended up not calling the English speaking midwife since we found that we had no real need once the process of labour had started (by this stage we had some very basic notions of Russian). The medical staff were all very friendly and we managed to make ourselves understood without too many difficulties. We were particularly impressed with the hygiene in the hospital and the efficiency of the staff.
Since our traditions are slightly different than the Russian ones, I wrote out a 'birth plan' which I gave to the gynaecologist well beforehand. This was extremely useful, since I found that the medical staff had taken good note of our wishes. For instance, they were fine about my husband being present throughout the birth. They also involved him in taking care of the baby right after birth.
All in all, our experience at the PNC was a positive one and I am now preparing for our second baby to be born in a few months. It must be said, however, that I did not have a complicated birth. Hence, I cannot say how well the PNC would have dealt with the birth had there been any complications. I’d suggest that anyone who fears a problematic birth or has post-birth concerns should find out more about giving birth here in Moscow.
Remember to register the birth!
Contact your embassy or consulate directly for information about registering a birth and applying for a passport. British nationals should visit the Foreign Office website (click on 'help for British nationals' then 'how to register a marriage or birth' or go to 'passports' for more information).
Following the birth, you will need to obtain a birth certificate from the local ZAGS office (the closest one to the PNC is at 13/12 Profsoyuznaya Ulitsa, tel: 499 125 5567). You will need to take the hospital birth certificate, a translated and notarised copy of your marriage certificate, translated and notarised copies of your passports and a copy of your Russian visa registration forms. It is advisable to call the ZAGS office first to check their opening hours and paperwork required. At least one parent must go to the office in person (with a Russian speaker).
Republished with permission of Children in Moscow.com and Sasha Baillie
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