Depending on where you live, having a home birth in France may not be an option. Insurance costs are too high for midwives to deliver babies from the homes, so few are available nationwide. In some cities, you may find a midwife (sage femme) who is uninsured that is willing to do this but I would not count on it.
We are moving up north to Caen soon to be near family for the birth of the baby. We called several midwifes only to find out that there is no one willing to do a home birth. Well, we did find one midwife but she lives 45 minutes away and refuses to deliver babies more than 30 minutes away. So it looks like we are stuck with doing a hospital birth.
From my research, only about 1% of babies are delivered at home. I have found that the demand for home births here are low, so there is not much of a need for midwives to start offering this option. While hospital births at public hospitals are reimbursed 100% by social security, home births are only partially reimbursed.
Two most common reasons for having a home birth in the USA is that mothers are tired of hospitals not following their birthing plan and they are trying to avoid the high costs of having a hospital birth. The issue of hospitals not following birthing plans and being over medicalized is prevalent in France, however, the cost of going to the hospital is only a fraction of the cost in the USA. Natural births are gaining ground as hospitals build up their maternity wings to be more like birthing centers. However, there is still a fear amongst mothers that they will end up in the stirrups, drugged and about to be cut open for a c-section.
There are three hospitals that I will be looking at after we move. One is a public hospital with a brand new maternity wing, a private hospital with a mediocre reputation, and a small public hospital in a smaller town that is known for giving a little more personal attention. Each of these hospitals allow for the mother to stand up and move around, plus each have a birthing ball in the room. The large public hospital with the new maternity wing even offers a birthing tub! However, reviews by mothers are mixed as it appears the room has stark lighting with doctors willing to drop birthing plans like dirty tissues.
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