Pregnancy and Giving Birth in Turkey

Updated 2020-05-25 14:27

No doubt, having a baby is by far the most thrilling, and life-changing decision a couple can ever have regardless of where they are located in the world. The situation is no different when you are giving birth in Turkey. As if the happiness and anticipation of bringing a new life to the world is not enough breath-taking, you need to plan the whole process carefully. Plus, you need to do so against the clock. From the detailed food guides during the pregnancy to the obstetrician that you must find and the available health insurance options, you must research well and make wise decisions.

If you are wondering about your rights and the related regulations for having a baby in Turkey as an expat, then read on. This article will shed light on the current healthcare system, birth-related costs, and insurance plans while being pregnant as an expat in Turkey.

The Turkish healthcare system for pregnant women

The first step in planning the birth of your baby in Turkey is selecting the right hospital for your needs. You get two options, private or public hospitals. As is the case in most countries, private hospitals cost higher than public ones, but the general quality improves significantly. Public hospitals provide this service free of charge if the mother has no health insurance or social security. Keep in mind that you can select your personal doctor from any clinic or hospital to take care of you and your baby after the birth, regardless of the hospital type you chose initially.

Most hospitals provide prenatal care, and it is crucial for the health of the newborn baby. Once the pregnancy is confirmed, you must monitor the health of the baby. Doctors usually perform blood and urine tests to see if the baby has any genetic issues. Risk levels are calculated, and the mother is informed about the wellbeing of the baby during the whole pregnancy period. Other medical examinations include various tests for diabetes, Hepatitis B, HIV, blood glucose, blood count, rubella, and more.

You can have a natural or C-section birth in Turkey, but you must consult your doctor first. In 2012, a new rule called ¨Caesarean Law¨ was implemented to prevent unnecessary C-section operations. According to this law, doctors who provide an excessive number of cesarean births would be inspected. However, C-section is still the most used method in the country. Indeed, Turkey has the highest C-section rates among all the OECD countries.

The cost of having a baby in Turkey

It is always a good idea to have international health insurance during pregnancy and after the birth. This will allow you to have your baby in private hospitals in Turkey at reduced or no cost at all. Since the Turkish Lira tends to fluctuate against the US Dollar and Euro heavily, it is best to provide the average hospital fees in foreign currency so that the expats have a better idea.

Generally, it costs around USD 300 to give birth via C-section at public hospitals. Unlike private ones, natural birth is a free service at these state hospitals. If you opt to have the birth at a private hospital with C-section, then expect a price range between USD 1,500 to USD 2,000 depending on the location. Note that having extra services might increase the fees at private hospitals.

Insurance for pregnancy in Turkey

You must check with your insurance provider to see if it has an agreement with the hospital you plan to have the birth. If they have an agreement, then the next step would be to check if it has partial or full coverage for the fees. Just contact the front desk of the hospital and provide the name of your insurance company.

The original insurance will cover the baby for the first 30 days after birth. You need to get new health insurance for the baby beyond this period.

Remember, if you have social security from SGK as a foreign citizen, you can give birth at the public hospitals free of charge without the need for any additional private insurance plans.

Finding an OBGYN in Turkey

Word of mouth is the best method to find the best obstetrician and gynaecologists. Being an expat limits your options a bit since you do not usually have any close relatives among the locals. However, you can still check on the doctor review websites like bookimed to find the best doctor in your area. You can also chat with the obstetricians online through these web pages and review the doctors on your own.

Postnatal care in Turkey

Postnatal care is not very different in Turkey when compared to most Western countries. The main goal here is to keep the baby and the mother healthy, and this involves various medical examinations. It starts right after birth.

You should know that there are required vaccinations for the newborn baby and the mother. The first one is applied to the baby within 48 hours of birth, and it is given as protection against Hepatitis B. Other vaccines follow when your baby gets three months old. They are mainly a defence against tetanus, tuberculosis, oral polio, diphtheria, and some other diseases.

Registering the birth of the newborn in Turkey

Keep in mind that you need to register the birth of your newborn baby. This process is usually managed by the father at the local Population Registry Office. You will need to provide the residency status of the parents and the marriage certificate. Alternatively, you can also register the birth of your child at the embassy of your country. Regardless of your nationality, every child born in Turkey can become a Turkish citizen by birth.

 Good to know:

In recent years, a new celebration trend called ¨Doğum Odası Süsleme¨ started to become popular in Turkey, which is basically turning the hospital room into a party house with chocolate, candies, cakes, balloons, Turkish sherbet (sweetened fruit juice syrup), vases, flowers, and many other decorations including small gifts for your visitors at the hospital. The mother's hospital bed is decorated either in blue or pink, depending on the gender of the newborn baby. Most hospitals provide you with hairdressers, gift planners, and photographers for this purpose.

It is an indescribable feeling to have a baby. The journey is a special one. Plus, the mixed emotions that come along, including stress, joy, fear, and more, might be a bit too hard to handle at first. Eventually, it all turns into a magic-filled, peaceful, happy process in the end. It is a little more adventurous when you have your baby in a foreign country as an expat. However, you can get through it all worry-free with the information provided here.

 Useful links:

Find OBGYN in Turkey
Prenatal (Antenatal) Care in Turkey
Turkish Ministry of Health
Safe Birth Checklist

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.