Pregnancy and Anxiety in Portugal

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Hello from still very sunny Portugal! Today, I’m not going to offer my normal apology for neglecting the blog, as I have a very good (and happy) excuse: Louise and I are expecting a baby!

As such, we’ve (unsurprisingly) been rather busy. It turns out that getting pregnant in Portugal can be nearly as complicated as getting residency in Portugal. Not the actual getting pregnant part (minds out the gutter please people, this is a family blog).

What I’m talking about is the bureaucracy associated with getting pregnant in Portugal. While we’ve been more than happy with our interaction with the doctors here, getting to actually see them has been another matter entirely.

Baby time!
Baby time!

Getting the relevant paperwork took five visits to the local surgery and well over ten (increasingly exasperated) phone calls. On the bright side, we are now capable of complaining and “putting our foot down” in the Portuguese language to an almost native level!

Having obtained the paperwork, getting the correct dates put on it and the right boxes ticked took another three return visits to the surgery and around five hours of waiting and travel time. Maintaining our self-employed income whilst spending hours in doctor’s waiting rooms is a challenge to say the least.

We are both extremely happy and excited about the news. As our close friends will testify, “it’s taken us long enough.” However, as I’m sure anyone with children will already know, it’s all rather terrifying too.

Hospitals give me the fear
Hospitals give me the fear

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it on this blog before, but I suffer badly with medical anxiety, white coat syndrome, or whatever you’d choose to call it. Basically being shit-scared of anything to do with doctors and hospitals is probably the best way to describe it.

Having buried my head comfortably in the sand for nearly 40 years about anything remotely medical, I now find myself reading books that go into a level of detail that causes me frequent dizzy spells. Whilst out walking the other day, I told strong-stomached and stoical Louise about just a couple of the things I’d read, and she had to quickly grab a handrail!

Calming Portuguese Skies!
Calming Portuguese Skies!

We’ve long been decided that we will have our children in Portugal – and we don’t plan to go running back to the comfort of the NHS and our native language. But the reality is far scarier than we imagined. I think we just visualised these cute little suntanned kids running around on a beach effortlessly switching between speaking English and Portuguese – the few years in the middle hadn’t really occurred to us before!

So, it’s been a very happy time, but a very anxious one too. On hearing our news, one of my friends said “wow, he’s got some manning up to do in the next nine months.” I certainly have. But first I think I may go for a little lie down.

PS. Interested in living in Portugal? Why not buy our book? Currently 15% off! Makes a good xmas gift! And we have a baby to pay for!

Moving to Portugal: How a young couple started a new life in the sun – and how you could do the same

US readers will find it here: Moving to Portugal – the book.

Image credits: GOVPA, Wikimedia Commons

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11 Comments - Write a Comment

  1. Ben and Louise, very many congratulations to you both. I am very happy for you and wish you (Lou) a morning sickness free pregnancy. What an exciting time for you both. At least you wont have the hassle of travelling on the tube with a ‘baby on board’ badge and 80% of the population pretending they cant see you. 🙂 All the very best and will look forward to hearing more blogging news from you both in the coming months. Saz

  2. Thank you Saz 🙂

    Best wishes,


  3. Congratulations.

    Let me tell you that Portugal has one of the lowest infant mortalities and maternal mortalities rates in the world.

    One of the few areas that Portugal can say is leading.

    If there’s one thing Portugal did outstandingly since the late 1980’s and along the 1990’s was revolutionizing those shameful past figures.

    Quite probably the best thing Portugal did after joining the European Union. It was the end of one of the country’s eternal main problem.

    And yes i agree. Bureaucracy !! Without it, the country could be so much better. :'(

  4. Congratulations to you both !!

    More exciting times ahead – looking forward to hearing about the next stage in your Life in Portugal.


  5. Congratulations! How exciting. I do wish you well with your medical ‘encounters’. I’ve been waiting for a ‘national health service’ appointment with a consultant since the end of July, and it took several weeks to get that far!. (Not to do with babies I hasten to add.) I was determined that it would work, but have finally given up and gone private. Still, no regrets about moving here.

  6. Congratulations Ben and Lou.
    What wonderful news, Martin and I wish you every happiness for the future.
    Just think next Christmas you will be a family.
    Keep us all posted on Lou’s progress.

  7. Many congratulations
    Best wishes to you both

  8. Thank you all so much for the good wishes.

    I had another ‘appointment’ with the doctor today – I went in at the appointed time, only to be told that there was a strike on and I should come back next week! Still, it’s all part of the experience 🙂

  9. Hi Jacinto,

    The figures for Portugal do certainly look good and though it is stressful getting appointments, the actual healthcare here has been excellent and very thorough. It’s a strange mix of a fabulous service and an awful one!

    Best wishes, Lou 🙂

  10. Thank you Myriam 🙂

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