If you’re pregnant in Greece, you can use this article to learn about:
- What kind of support you’re entitled to
- What you can expect from your medical treatment
- How you can protect and register your child
- How to get advice on family planning
If you have more questions about being pregnant in Greece, please don’t hesitate to message us on Facebook. We will do our best to get you answers as soon as possible.
What kind of support will I receive during my pregnancy in Greece?
Women who are undocumented in case of pregnancy can address Hospitals that are on duty to receive medical care every time they feel pain or need to check the baby’s medical situation. Also, she can access all health services provided by NGOs free of charge, both during pregnancy (antenatal) and after giving birth (postnatal).
For women who are asylum applicants, obtain a specific number named PAAYPA on their asylum card that provides access to Hospitals, Primary Medical Care (P.E.D.Y.), Health Centers, Local Health Units (T.O.M.Y.), free medical check-ups and medicine.
By using her PAAYPA Number or AMKA Number, she can have access to free medical support by booking an appointment at above mentioned medical facilities. Specifically, an obstetrician-gynaecologist, a doctor specializing in women’s health, and midwives will provide medical care for you and prescribe any necessary medication during this time. You can ask for a female doctor, but there may not be one available. You can find female doctors at medical NGOs (see the links below).
During pregnancy, you and your family will also receive information and advice on the following:
- Postnatal recovery
- Care of your newborn
- Early, exclusive breastfeeding
- Family planning and deciding on future pregnancies
What medical treatment will I receive during my pregnancy?
Once the pregnancy is confirmed, a first appointment should be booked (you can seek support from Social Services) at the Obstetrics and Gynecology Department of the Hospital.
You will undergo all the necessary screening tests to calculate the expected delivery date to examine your and your baby’s health. During each visit to the doctor, you can expect to get an ultrasound scan.
You will also have some blood tests and medical exams to screen your overall health and check for any sexually transmitted diseases like HIV and hepatitis B.
The doctor will prescribe or give you any necessary medication, which you can take free of charge from pharmacies. It’s quite common that the doctor or a midwife will ask you to take a small dose of iron and folic acid supplement every day during the months of your pregnancy.
In addition to medical care, the doctor or midwife will provide information and advice on how best to take care of your personal hygiene during pregnancy and after giving birth.
If you are pregnant or planning to be pregnant, get tested for HIV as early as possible. Remember: If you or your partner are HIV positive, you can still prevent transmission and give birth to HIV-negative children. Inform your doctor, and you will receive treatment with a combination of HIV medication (called ART). Receiving ART (antiretroviral therapy) prior to and during pregnancy, delivery and breastfeeding can reduce the risk to less than 5% and prevent transmission of HIV to your infant.
Can I access safe abortion care?
According to Greek law, a woman can decide to have a safe abortion. In Greece, abortion is legally allowed and public hospitals should provide it for free:
- Within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, with the woman’s consent.
- Within the first 24 weeks of pregnancy, if there are signs of serious embryo abnormalities.
- Within the first 19 weeks of pregnancy, if the pregnancy results from rape, child sexual molestation or incest, the public prosecutor needs to issue an official decision in this case.
Will I be able to move from a camp to an apartment during my pregnancy?
If you’re pregnant, you are considered vulnerable and have priority for some services and programs.
However, due to the extremely high demand for accommodation and limited available places in recent months, the fact that you are pregnant and considered vulnerable cannot guarantee you an apartment.
What support will I receive as I get closer to my due date?
It is important to be informed about which hospital is on duty on the month that you will deliver the baby. The number to call for an ambulance is 166 wherever you are in Greece. Ideally it should be someone who speaks Greek or English.
Note that if someone who speaks Greek or English cannot accompany you, try to prepare a paper written in either language with basic pregnancy information, including the following:
- Number of weeks you have been pregnant
- The treatment you’ve received during your pregnancy
- Complications you’ve experienced, if any
- Take with you all the medical tests results.
This information will help the medical staff provide you with the best care.
What will happen at the hospital?
When you first arrive at the hospital on duty, with the early signs of labor, you will go through a medical examination. You can ask for a female doctor to examine you, but your request will only be fulfilled if a female doctor is available.
After giving birth, you will remain at the hospital:
- For 2 or 3 days if you had a natural childbirth
- For 3 or 4 days if you gave birth by cesarean section (c-section)
- More days if there are any newborn or mother postnatal complications
If you and your newborn don’t have a safe space to return to after these few days, you need to let the doctors know and ask them to inform the hospital’s social service.
Hospitals in Greece can neither provide nor refer you to accommodation facilities. But all hospitals have a social service, and social workers are obliged to try referring you to an organization or any service provider that could support you.
What medical support will I receive after giving birth?
After giving birth, you will have to visit your doctor and the midwife for a routine checkup at least 3 times within the first 40 days after delivery.
The doctor and the midwife will:
- Check your overall health and ensure that you recover well.
- Check the baby’s health and provide information on the baby’s vaccination schedule.
- Support you in breastfeeding and in baby care.
- Consult you on how you can take care of your hygiene.
- Support you on family planning and contraception methods available.
How can I protect my baby from the cold?
It is important to keep your newborn baby warm in the cold winter months. We know this is a big challenge, especially if you are living under harsh conditions in one of the camps.
It is important to know that up to 40 days since the birth of your child, you can use a method called kangaroo care. This method involves holding your baby against your chest in an upright position. The baby should be naked except for a diaper and a piece of clothing covering his or her back. The skin-to-skin contact ensures that the baby stays as warm as possible.
What type of birth control is available in Greece?
After giving birth, you can reach out to one of the medical organizations in your area and receive consultation on family planning.
Family planning allows you to attain your desired number of children and determine the spacing of your pregnancies.
In Greece, it is achieved through the use of the following contraceptive methods:
- Spiral or intrauterine device
- Contraceptive pills
- Male and female condoms
How can I register my child’s birth in Greece?
According to Greek policy, you have 10 days after the day your baby was born to register her or his birth with the municipality where you live. . A person who speaks Greek should accompany for the registration because personal information should be registered in Greek (Name, Surname, Father’s Name).
You also need to register your child with the Greek Asylum Service as soon as possible by using the original Birth Certificate that is given by Municipality.