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Giving birth in Italy

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If you are pregnant or you will soon welcome a new baby in your family, you can use this article to learn about:

  • Available healthcare during and after your pregnancy
  • Your rights as a mother in Italy

Available care during and after your pregnancy

All women, even without a valid permesso di soggiorno, are entitled to the same treatment and medical care that Italian women receive during pregnancy and childbirth.

All treatments you will receive during your pregnancy and childbirth are free of charge.

Medical support during pregnancy

Once you confirm the pregnancy with a pregnancy test, you should book your first appointment at a family counselling center, or “consultorio” in Italian.

Consultori are free public facilities where you can receive support during your pregnancy. At these centers you can also get information on reproductive health and contraceptive menthods.

You can find a map with all the consultori across Italy here. Once on the page, you will find a map of Italy. Click on the region where you live to find the address and contact information of a consultorio in your area.

At the consultorio, doctors and midwives will:

  • Do the screening tests to calculate the expected delivery date
  • Examine your health (for example blood tests, check for any sexual transmitted diseases, like HIV and hepatitis B)
  • Examine your baby’s health (for example with ultrasounds)
  • Provide you with all the information you need about available prenatal training courses

At the end of the visit, the doctor will provide you with a pregnancy certificate (“certificato di gravidanza” in Italian), which will allow you to prove your status to your employer and access the services you need. In accordance with the doctor, you will also need to schedule regular appointments to monitor your health and the baby’s health throughout the entire pregnancy.

All treatments and medications that you will receive in public health facilities throughout your pregnancy are free of charge.

If you live in a reception center

Pregnant women and single parents with children (under 18) are considered vulnerable individuals that qualify for special assistance in reception centers, including health and psychological support.

These services should be granted both in first reception centers and in SAI centers (ex SIPROIMI). The quality of services can vary from center to center.

Can I access safe abortion care?

According to Italian law, a woman can decide to have a safe abortion. In Italy, abortion is legally allowed:

  • Within the first 90 days of pregnancy, with the woman’s consent.
  • After the first 90 days of pregnancy, if there are signs of serious embryo abnormalities or if the woman’s life is at serious risk.

You can access information about safe abortion at the Consultorio where doctors and psychologists will inform you about all the options you have.

Medical support during and after giving birth

Before getting to the hospital

If you think it’s time for you to deliver the baby you can go to the closest hospital by yourself or you can call an ambulance at 118, an emergency number.

If you don’t speak Italian or if someone who speaks Italian cannot come with you to the hospital, ask someone who speaks Italian (including Refugee.Info team) to prepare a paper written with basic pregnancy information including the following:

  • Number of weeks you have been pregnant
  • Treatment you’ve received during your pregnancy
  • Complications you’ve experienced, if any
  • Medical test results. Please also bring any test result documents you may have with you to the hospital.

This information will help the medical staff provide you with the best care according to your specific situation.

Once at the hospital

Once you arrive at the hospital and you are in 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 at that time.

After giving birth, doctors will decide how long you will remain at the hospital depending on your specific situation. This will be determined by how the childbirth went and if there are any complications.

Your rights as a mother in Italy

Your right to a permit for pregnant women

During your pregnancy and 6 months after the birth of your child, you cannot be expelled from Italy, even if you do not have a valid permit of stay. This holds true also for your legal partner, if you are legally married and you live with your partner.

You and your legal partner have the right to apply for a 6-month Permesso per Cure Mediche from the moment your pregnancy is certified to 6 months after you deliver your baby.

To apply, you need:

  • Valid document of identification
  • 4 photos of yourself
  • 16 euros revenue stamp (“marca da bollo” in Italian)
  • Medical certificate of your pregnancy, or the birth certificate in case of renewal
  • Self-certificate or certificate of residence, or declaration of hospitality

Please keep in mind that there are different type of Permesso per Cure Mediche. However, the one for pregnant women is NOT the same as this Permesso per Cure Mediche.

What permit I get after my baby turns 6 months?

You cannot renew your Permesso per Cure Mediche for pregnant women after 6 months from the birth of your child.

If you meet the income and housing requirements, you could apply for a Family permit. Alternatively, you could apply for an Assistenza Minore permit. The Questura issue Assistenza Minore permit under the authorization of the Juvenile Court. You can learn more about the Permesso per Assistenza Minori here.

Remember that you could bring to Italy your children (under 18) who reside outside Italy through the family reunification procedure, if you meet the requirements.

Do I have the right to social benefits?

As a mother, you may have the right to receive social benefits, such as the Bonus Mamma Domani and the Bonus Bebè. Please, read our article “Your right to access the welfare system” to learn more.

If you are unemployed, you can request the maternity check ('assegno di maternità' in Italian) at your Comune within 6 months after your child’s birth.

Depending on your ISEE, you may also be entitled to a bonus for daycare. Please visit your Comune for more information on the requirements and how to apply.

Your rights as a working mother

Here are some of your rights if you are employed:

  • You cannot be dismissed from your job from the beginning of your pregnancy up until your child is 1 year old – with very few exceptions.
  • If you have a dangerous or physically demanding job, your employer must change your tasks to protect your safety and your baby’s safety. Moreover, you cannot work night shifts.
  • You are entitled to a compulsory maternity leave (“congedo di maternità” in Italian). You can apply for congedo di maternità online through the INPS portal or by visiting a Patronato.
  • Depending on your contract, you may be entitled to a certain period of parental leave, until your child is 12 years old.
  • You are entitled to a leave from work for prenatal screenings, hours off for breastfeeding, and leaves from work if your child is ill.

You can learn more (in Italian) on your rights as a working mother here.

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