Having A Baby In Costa Rica
by: Robelyn Martinez Yambao
Hola My Friends,
Today, I'm gonna be talking about pregnancy in Costa Rica. As a foreigner, it is really an exciting part of my journey in life to experience this kind of adventure abroad. I do blogging with my husband and 3-year old daughter where I write my personal experiences to share to other people so they have idea on what to do if they have the same situation like mine. So, let me share my story.
Arriving in Costa Rica as Pregnant Tourist
My daughter and I arrived in Costa Rica 5 months ago and I was 3 months pregnant during that trip, my husband was waiting for us in the said land. It was an exhausting trip from the Philippines via Europe with a child with me and suffering from morning sickness, can you imagine what my situation was? But, through prayers nothing is impossible, we had a safe and nice trip. I never had a hard time in dealing with airlines and immigration because of my situation they gave me a special treatment that made me so happy.
Costa Rica System For Pre-Natal
In Costa Rica, you can choose whether private or public service for your pre-natal as you wish. The charge in private doctors is around $50 [a friend] to $100 [in the private clinic]. On the other hand, availing their services through Caja is free. If you have a plan to give birth in their country, your baby will be a Costa Rican who automatically can avail the Free service in public clinics/hospitals though you did not contribute in their system.
I had a chance to try their public clinic and until now I am trying to avail to save money. Here are the steps I did to make it happen:
* I went to a small clinic in Esquipulas nearby our apartment where I live. I was walking one day going to grocery and passed by in this clinic during that time was open [It was always close]. I was not aware that everything they do in clinic should have appointment until I talked to the nurse. I asked the nurse if I can have my Pre-natal in the said clinic. She asked about a Card. She couldn't speak English so, translator application is needed in your phone to communicate. I told her It was my first time so, I need to know what to do to get that Card. She gave me instruction what to do and where can I get it. It should be in the Clinica De Palmares which is located at the center of the city. I live in Palmares, Alajuela by the way.
* We went to the said clinic which is bigger than the clinic I went to. I told the guard my purpose so he led me to the English speaking doctor available that time who was walking on the lobby. The doctor instructed me where to go but I was confused because I did not understand his instructions. So, he volunteered to accompany us to the next building and he talked to the secretary about my situation. After the secretary accepted us, he returned back to his duty. The secretary was so friendly and helpful. She registered me in her computer using my passport and gave us appointment with the doctor for the next day.
* The next day, we went back to her office to ask her where to go. As usual, she was so friendly that she accompanied us to the counter and instructed us the step by step showing the rooms I need to visit. In the first room, the nurses will give you check on BP, height, weight and write it on your card. That's the day I got my card. Then, they forwarded my record to the doctor assigned. After few minutes, the doctor called me and he gave me initial interview about my records I gave him. He also checked my medical certificate and ultrasound I brought from Philippines. They sent me to bed to check my baby heart beat [he has assistant]. Lastly, he gave me prescription for my vitamins and appointment request for urine and blood test and ultra sound. He told me to submit that to the next building [the first building I went to] to get appointment. He also told me to come back for November check up.
* We went to the said building the next day. I told the guard I'm going to laboratorio. He showed us the counter where we can give the paper slip. The nurse at the counter returned our paper with our appointment for my lab test and that was 23 days later. She gave me small plastic bottle for my urine.
* We also got my vitamins in their pharmacy inside the building at the same day. All free!
FREE VITAMINS FROM THEIR PHARMACY
Note: When I asked the secretary where can I have my ultrasound, she told me to visit the public hospital in San Ramon. I went to San Ramon for my ultrasound unfortunately, the available appointment for me will be on December which will be near to my expected delivery date. So, I decided to get it in a private clinic, I just paid 38000 colones. We went to the private clinic and got appointment for ultrasound. When we visited the doctor on the said date assigned to us that was 2 days later, he did the ultrasound and explained it to us. He gave us two copies of paper report plus the photo with the CD as shown in the image below. If I can still reach the said schedule I've got in San Ramon hospital, I will still use my appointment to avail the free ultrasound :)
Just recently, there were two nurses visited my house to check me. Those nurses were from the small clinic near my house. I was glad because they were so thoughtful and caring. They check my BP and asked me about my next check up for November schedule. They asked me to come with them in the clinic so they can give me a shot for anti-tetanus/anti-bac injection to protect me and my baby. I was so glad to have it. They also gave me instructions on what to do after I have my baby from baby's Carnet to baby's First lab test. All in all I am happy to avail the services they are giving in a public health care. I am planning to give birth in the public hospital and hopefully through my prayers I will have a safe and normal delivery.
November Check Up
I went back to clinic for my lab test schedule. I made a mistake in going there because I did not read the instructions before coming to the lab. What I understood in the writing was "collect my urine first pee in the morning". I did not read the other instructions "not to eat breakfast" or "do fasting 10 hours before going to clinic". I ate my oatmeal that time so, when the doctor took my blood sugar it was high and asked me if I ate my breakfast. When I said yes, he immediately say "you can go and come back again".
I went immediately to the secretary to ask another appointment for my lab test because I wasted my first appointment they gave me. So, she gave me another one for a week of waiting again. When I came back for the second time, the doc asked me first if I had my breakfast before getting my sample blood. This time, I said no with smile. So, he took 2 tubes of my blood from right arm. Then, he gave me 1 glass of drink it was sweet and color yellow like beer. After I finished drinking, he asked me to wait for 1 hour just sitting outside without moving and eating. After an hour, I went back to him and he took another tube of blood from my left arm. That was it! I went back home to wait for 3 days and returned to clinic to have appointment with my doctor for November check up.
When I visited my doctor, I went to the secretary to show my appointment slip. She checked my folder in her desk and gave it the the nurse room. When the nurse called me, they get my BP and my weight and jotted down in my card. Then, they forwarded my papers to my doctor. After awhile, the doctor called me to enter his room. He told me everything was normal and perfect. He checked my baby's heart beat and he showed me the results of my urine and blood tests. So far, so good.
Ultrasound in San Ramon Hospital
This December, I was able to avail the ultrasound in the hospital. Remember, I wrote here that they gave me appointment last October for December ultrasound? I thought I won't be able to try this anymore since my due will be December. But, in my last check up my due will be 3rd week of this month so I tried to travel in the hospital last week. They did not have a picture of the baby, only a paper stating some writings that only doctor can read. A very quick visit and the doc said "everything is okay".
As of today, I did not visit my doctor for Pre-natal again because my tummy is really heavy now. I plan to wait for my delivery due and go straight to hospital when the right time comes. :)
If you think this is helpful, please share to your friends especially those who are living in Costa Rica as foreigners. Thank you for reading my article!
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A licensed teacher in the Philippines who shifted her career into another direction to follow her passion to be a blogger. Her blogs are related in traveling and simple living as an expat in a foreign land.