What to expect?
Doctor’s appointments, support schemes, and baby stuff!
Being pregnant is already a super exciting thing, and if it’s your first child then everything is new and you don’t really know what to expect. Then being pregnant in a foreign country is another thing.
I found out I was pregnant at the end of April 2019. Of course, I was very excited, but also a little bit unsure about how to go about it. And I was thinking that there are probably more foreigners that are residing in Malta and might be expecting a baby and don’t really know how to proceed. So I wanted to give you a little bit of my story so you will know what to expect.
Hospital and doctor’s appointments
First, I called one of my local pharmacies to see if there was any doctor available. Visiting a doctor is the first thing that I did, as I don’t have a family or private doctor. He asked me a few questions, took my weight and blood pressure and then filled out a form to refer me to the local hospital, Mater Dei.
I then received a letter at home for my first check-up at the hospital. My partner and I went together and there was a midwife that explained some things to me, asked me questions about my health history, etc. The midwife wrote all the essential information down on a blue card, that you have to bring everywhere with you, in case anything happens and you have to go to the hospital. Your appointments will also be written down on this blue card. Then I received a magazine with information that also contained a form to sign up for a course. (I didn’t do the course, but I heard from some people it’s really helpful and it’s also the first thing they ask when you go into labor).
I also had to have blood taken as a standard test, to make sure all was okay.
Tip: If you are not Maltese, make sure you have your latest payslip with you. For some procedures (such as taking blood or ultrasounds), you need to prove that you are paying taxes, even if you do have a Maltese ID card.
After we had our first ultrasound, we had to make another appointment for a second ultrasound. They also made an appointment for me in the health center, to have regular check-ups.
Tip: Make sure you have planned out enough time for your hospital appointments. Sometimes the waiting time is very long.
The appointments at the health center were first every month, and as you get closer to your due date, your appointments will be every 2 weeks or every week. Once you arrive you give your blue card to the nurse. You will be given a time for the appointment, but it’s mostly on a first-come, first-serve basis. At these check-ups in the health center, you will have to bring a urine sample with you. This will be checked by a nurse and they will take your weight, blood pressure and listen to the heartbeat of your baby.
The staff is really nice at the hospital and the health centres. The only thing that bothered me was the long waiting times, especially at the hospital.
You also get a different doctor every time you go, which is to be expected when you get free healthcare. This didn’t bother me personally, but I know some people might prefer having the same doctor through this journey and I would recommend going to a private hospital.
Child care & support from government
If you are a working mom, then you will probably need to look for a childcare centre where you can drop your baby off when you have to go back to work again.
If you have talked to people around you about your pregnancy this is probably the first thing that they will tell you that you really can’t leave until right before you’re about to give birth. Apparently, some childcare centres have a lot of applications, so to make sure it’s settled start with this on time!
You can simply look for childcare centers close to your house, or your place of work, whichever you prefer and is easiest for you. I decided to pick a childcare close to our house and I went to see the place. They will explain to you what is expected, what kind of activities they do with the children and what you need to provide them with.
You will then have to fill in an application form, and you can finish this process once your little one has arrived. The government here in Malta has a support scheme, so a number of hours will be paid for by the government, and if you want more hours you will pay for it yourself. Most childcare centers do not charge that much per hour, so you can adapt the hours to what works best for you and your family. The support scheme for childcare is something that they will arrange for you.
Another support scheme you can apply for is children’s allowance.
You can find a link and the application form here.
Tip: Make sure you fill in as much information as possible on the forms you receive. Because after the little one has arrived you have other things to think about.
Of course this is personal for everyone and maybe you already know the gender of your baby. This is one of the most fun things to sort out in preparation of your new family member, but also one of the priciest things..
I would recommend looking for a package deal online or through Facebook. There are some shops here in Malta that offer packages which include prams, beds, carseats, playpens, etc.
The package deal I got was from Bimbi Baby Shop and it included the following:
- 3 in 1 travel system, which you can change into a pushchair when your baby grows up a little bit and a car seat;
- Playpen which also has a part with a changing mat on top;
- Electrical swing, which works both with wire and batteries;
- “Next to me” bed that you can use as a crib, or you can attach it to your bed so your baby always sleeps right next to you without co-sleeping;
- Highchair that you can use when your baby can sit up and join you at the kitchen table.
All this for around €730,- which to me sounds like a great deal! 🙂
Everything in this package was from the brand Kinderkraft. We are very happy with the products, as it is very good value for money.
Of course, if you don’t want to spend too much money you can always look on Facebook Marketplace to see if anyone is selling any second-hand items in good condition. Or you could ask your colleagues, friends, etc.
We decided that we wanted to keep the gender a surprise, but if you know what you’re going to have I would definitely recommend to also go to Marketplace on Facebook for baby clothes, as a lot of people are happy to sell a lot of baby clothes for a small price.
Hopefully this post was helpful to you and if you would like more information, please comment down below and I will answer your questions!
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