Panama is no different than other modern countries when dealing with pregnancies.
When pregnancy is suspected make an appointment to see an obstetrician to confirm the pregnancy.
Prenatal care will include checkups, full blood tests, cervical smear, ultrasound scan, plus Rh factor test. Every four weeks a routine exam should be conducted. At the 28th week of pregnancy, a GTT (glucose tolerance test) will be conducted along with more blood tests, plus a RhoGAM shot if needed.
A basic exam should be conducted every two weeks until the 36th week when they will become weekly. An ultrasound is conducted at week 12, 20, and the 32nd week.
As the birth gets closer it will be necessary to choose a pediatrician who will be available at the onset of labor and delivery.
Prenatal, respiration, and birth preparation courses are available in Panama City.
Vida Mama is a company located in Panama City providing these classes.
If you have private medical insurance the health insurance agency will book the hospital birthing room. If you do not have insurance you will need to contact a hospital to register for the birth. Private hospitals offer several delivery packages and a deposit is required when choosing one.
The birth is commonly assisted with epidurals for pain relief while local anesthesia and intravenous drugs are also available. When giving birth, an obstetrician, nurses, and the ultimate pediatrician will assist.
Typical time for a hospital stay is two days; however, complications may require additional time. A caesarean birth requires from 3 to 5 days stay.
The hospital will administer the newborn primary vaccinations.
Home births are available but are not common in Panama. Midwives are available in Panama City. One Midwife company operating in Panama City explains their procedures for a natural child birth at home. Their website is: http://partonaturalpanama.com/
Postnatal Care is available through many quality pediatricians in Panama. A check up for the new born should occur once a month during the first year. During
the second year, checkups should occur every three months. It is common in Panama to hire a nurse to take care of the baby upon returning home for the first few months.
Vaccinations required by Panama schools include Diphtheria, Polio, Tetanus, MMR, and Pertussis.
Having a Baby in Panama City, Panama
Expats describe their experiences at the Centro Medical Paitilla in Panama City as being a modern hospital with English speaking doctors, but the medical support staff is not bilingual. However, everyone was professional and very caring. One woman stayed in the hospital for 10 days while delivering twins, had an epidural for the pain, two neonatal teams for the delivery, and a private room, all costing a little under $6,000 USD.
Here is a list of the most popular hospitals in Panama City providing maternal care
Hospital Punta Pacifica (The renowned Johns Hopkins Hospital in the U.S. manages this modern hospital. Besides maternity, services include emergency, clinical laboratory, radiology, cardiology, endoscopy, preventive medicine, and general surgery.):
- Location: Via Punta Darien & Boulevard Pacifica, next to Multicentro Mall
Tel: 204 – 8000
Fax: 204 – 8010
Clinica Hospital San Fernando (Besides maternity, services include diagnostic and cardiovascular, emergencies, blood banks, allergist, pulmonologist, radiology and imagery):
- Location: Next to McDonald’s on Via España
Tel: 305 – 6300
Fax: 305 – 6303
Centro Medico Paitilla (Besides maternity, services offered include emergency hospitalization and ICU oncology, general surgery, imagery and radiology, clinical laboratory and physical therapy.):
- Location: Calle 53 and Avenida Balboa in Marbella district
Tel: 265 – 8800
Hospital Nacional (This is a complete medical services hospital.):
- Location: Between Calle 38 and Calle 39 on Ave. Cuba
Tel: 306 – 3300/ 207 – 8100
Fax: 207 – 8337 8337
Having a Baby in Santiago, Panama
The Jesus de Nazareno Hospital in Santiago is highly recommended by expats in Panama. From the initial admittance either a gynecologist or pediatrician will attend the patient until the baby is born. In November of 2010 the cost for two nights hospital stay including epidural and circumcision was $1,200 USD. The only
recommendation was that expats should bring their own fluffy pillow.
Having a Baby in David, Panama
The Mae Lewis Hospital in David, Panama is popular with expats living there. One expat reported having a baby by C-Section at this hospital with four doctors in the operating room during the procedure. She spent three days in a private room. The total cost was $2,500 USD which included hospital stay, OR, doctors &
nurses. The care was “top notch” compared to her hometown in Oregon where the same care would have cost around $25,000 USD.
Obtaining a Birth Certificate for a New Born Baby in Panama
All births need to be registered at the Civil Registry in Panama. The hospital will automatically register the birth with the Panama Civil Registry. Basically, all that is required will be ID’s from the parents (passports, residency cards), and two witnesses who are unrelated to the parents. The hospital will give the parent the birth certificate. If the baby is not born in a hospital, in order to obtain a birth certificate for the new baby, the parents need to provide the following documents at the Civil Registry:
- Notarized photocopies of their “cedula” (ID cards) or passports
- Letter signed by a doctor
- Written statement signed by a witness to the birth
The birth can be registered by one of the parents or a grandparent. As an alternative, a lawyer can be hired to register the child’s birth. Here is the Contact information and website link for the Panama Civil Registry:
- Direccion General de Registro Civil (Civil Registry)
Tribunal Electoral – Registro Civil
Avenida Cuba y Avenida Peru & Calle 35
Cuidad de Panama
Tel: (507) 207 – 8053
Obtaining a Panama Passport for Your Baby
You must take your baby to the Passport Office in Panama City located on Via España in the Plaza Concordia. Both parents need to bring the baby unless one gets a Power of Attorney from the other. Arrive before Noon as they only take applications in the morning. The process will take around 2 hours. Present the following documents:
- Baby’s birth certificate with one copy
- Both parents’ passports or cedulas and one copy of each (bring a Power of Attorney if only one parent goes)
- $50 fee in cash
Wait to be called and hold up the baby for a photo. Wait again until the passport is ready.
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