Down-to-earth yet state-of-the-art: From prenatal care to childbirth
These days delivery rooms are the most sought after clinical service in hospitals. There used to be a few months of boom per year, but right now delivery rates have been booming for months.
The good news to start with: Expectant mothers in Mallorca or on the other Balearic islands need not worry about being well looked after during their pregnancy. Care before and during childbirth is at an acknowledged first class level at least from a medical point of view. And this does not only apply to private clinics. In a national ranking the three public hospitals Son Dureta, Son Llatzer, and the Hospital Manacor are found among the top 20 hospitals in the country. The maternity section played an important role in the evaluation. The prize-winning hospitals follow a generally natural approach, and they end up with 29 per cent less complications during the birth process than the average hospital in Spain. Isabel Cascales, coordinator responsible for the maternity sector at Hospital Son Llatzer, states that the number of caesarean sections in Son Llatzer is under 18 per cent, which is 10 per cent lower than hospitals not awarded.
There is no need to worry about a pregnancy as long as everything runs smoothly. Quite a number of pregnant women do not visit prenatal courses and only go for medical checkups that are scheduled in their maternity consultation documents (“mothers’ passport”). Still, preparation courses are offered for private as well as for NHS patients. They often take place in hospitals, but are not a must for everybody. “In order to give birth to a baby you do not have to learn a certain breathing technique,” writes homeopath M. Lourdes in her essay on natural pregnancy. The habit of breathing deeply is sufficient and should be practised during pregnancy.
This can be done whilst sitting on a chair. “Hands on the stomach, breathe in, then very slowly out again, as if blowing out a candle.” Apart from that she recommends swimming, Yoga or Thai Chi as supporting physical exercises.
Similar to other countries, prenatal care follows a certain rhythm. When a couple plans to have a baby they should consider visiting a gynaecologist three months before going into “action”. The gynaecologist will carry out the classic checkups plus he/she will ask the parents-to-be a lot of questions that are meant to uncover any possible risks that might occur during pregnancy.
In case of hereditary diseases in the family chromosome tests can be conducted. If a woman is already pregnant when she sees the gynaecologist an intensive check-up will be carried out in the early weeks of her pregnancy. A privately insured patient can choose her care during pregnancy from a large number of gynaecologists on the island. In the International Medical Centre (“Internationales Facharztzentrum“) in Palma two specialists offer their services for expectant mothers in English, German and Spanish. Dr. Ch. Springer is a female gynaecologist and Dr. Terrasa is a specialist for gynaecology and obstetrics. Dr. Terrasa provides patients with obstetrican care in a number of different private clinics, and his wife J. Terrasa works as a private midwife.
Dr. Paul Raas gynaecologist and obstetrician from Clinica Picasso 57 in Palma also speaks German and English and works in the different private clinics. His clinic offers the latest technology in 3D/4D ultrasound which not only helps expectant parents to bond with their unborn child but also can be useful in identifying possible abnormalities early in pregnancy.
No matter whether privately insured or NHS (Seguridad Social) every expectant mom is given a maternity consultation document (“mother’s passport”) with the important medical data of her pregnancy as well as the intervals of her regular medical check-ups that are carried out every four weeks. For NHS patients it is usually the midwife who does all the routine check-ups. From the 34th week check-ups are done every fortnight, and from the 38th week a weekly check-up is suggested. If there is fear of complications women can have a prenatal diagnosis in the 10th – 16th week of pregnancy, such as an amniocentesis. However, these tests are not without risks and should be discussed thoroughly with your doctor before being undertaken.
The first cry
As the 40 weeks draw to an end, the exciting stage of finally seeing your baby becomes a reality. A case with baby and mother clothes, the documents (“mother’s passport”), and your health insurance card should be ready for an immediate trip to the hospital. When things go smoothly the clinical stay is a short two – three days’ waiting. Private patients can make use of the time to find their preferred clinic. Patients with Seguridad Social will be sent to their district hospital. Women who have the opportunity to give birth at Son Llatzer are lucky as the maternity ward is known for its relaxed atmosphere, and modern facilities.
In case of emergencies the hospitals work hand-in-hand. To avoid any language problems hospitals offer the help of interpreters. Even mother’s milk can be provided if this alimentation is compulsory for the new-born baby. There has been a bank for mother’s milk on Mallorca for over four years, the first of its kind in Spain.
A pediatrician for all accounts
It is well worthwhile to choose the future pediatrician before the baby is born. Dr. med. Achim Noack is pediatrician at the Clinica Picasso and father of a daughter of seven months. As the risk of allergies was high for his daughter, he already started prevention of possible allergies before she was born. Today his daughter is in the very best of health. Prevention and a good chiropractor can give relief during pregnancy and can have a positive influence on the health of the future child.
Little is known of the prevention which can help to minimise the risk of allergies before the birth of a child. This is especially interesting for those babies whose parents or siblings suffer from allergies and who, therefore, bear a greater allergy risk than babies from allergy-free families. Dr. med. Achim Noack from Clinica Picasso has studied this subject of allergies in depth. He recommends six months of postnatal lactation, which should be respected especially when the child has an increased allergy risk. However, allergy precaution does not start primarily with lactation. The mother-to-be can already start treating her baby during pregnancy. Dr. Noack recommends pregnant women whose babies bare an increased allergy risk take LGG capsules. Those capsules contain the probioticum Lactobacillus GG and are chemical free. They supplement the daily alimentation and the mother should take one capsule a day 2 to 4 weeks before giving birth and continue doing so during lactation. Should the mother not nurse her baby, LGG can be given directly in the baby’s milk bottle. The good thing is that LGG is not an expensive product. The investment of 2 Euros a day pays off in terms of the success achieved with LGG, which has been proved by studies in the field of neurodermatitis. According to those studies LGG reduces the neurodermatitis- rates by 50 % for both nursed and bottle fed babies.
Dr. Noack’s also recommends consulting a chiropractor during pregnancy, which might come as a surprise for many pregnant women. He refers his patients to the chiropractor Karel Depures. His hands relieve many typical pregnancy related discomforts just by optimising the position of the spine or the pelvis with his skilful grips. Karel Depures can work small miracles with his youngest patients and only a few treatments can be sufficient to relieve stressed-out babies from colics. Once the baby is born, a thorough examination by the pediatrician can prevent many subsequent problems. Dr. Noack makes an ultrasonic examination of the pelvis, to assess whether the hip joint is fully developed.
There are also audiometry and visual tests which were specially developed for children, providing stressfree and almost entertaining examinations for the baby. These tests can provide vital information at an early stage as to whether the baby’s development is normal.
Dr. med. Achim Noack
Clínica Picasso, 57
Tel: 971 220 666
C/Font i Monteros, 18 bajos
Tel: 971 718 210
A few tips for care in pregnancy
Patients on NHS (Seguridad Social) do not have many alternatives. They will generally be sent to certain doctors and midwives. Private patients can choose from a large number of gynaecologists and clinics. In general, insurance companies provide their clients with a book of doctors where, among others, all the gynaecologists are listed who work with this insurance company. If the patient prefers to consult another gynaecologist only part of the costs are reimbursed. This should be sorted out in advance – also for expats who are insured in a different country.
Tips, calendar with calculator for fertile days and lots more
Clinica Juaneda, private clinic, 3 languages
Policlinic Miramar, private clinic, 4 languages
The largest private clinic on Mallorca offers a complete gynaecological service and has a specially trained team of doctors, nurses and midwives.
Private clinic, 3 languages
The private hospital offers complete caring support throughout the phase of pregnancy. This includes the control of pregnancy, the delivery and the postpartum care for the mother and the baby.Those who wish can go to childbirth classes.
Clinica Picasso, private clinic, 3 languages
Private, only in Spanish
Natural birth, but no pain, please – An epidural
Those who go for an epidural suffer less pain while giving birth. The mother-to-be stays awake and can fully experience the birth of her child, just without the pain. Also the newborn baby is less stressed by the birth. Thus it is no surprise that Mallorcan hospitals use this technique as a matter of routine for deliveries. “Our doctors are so experienced that the risks this method implies have shrunk to a minimum,” comment the clinics in unison when questioned.
The decision for a stress-free birth can be made at the last minute. “Wait and keep an open mind” is the advice of Dr. Ch. Springer from the International Medical Centre in Palma. The decision need not be taken long in advance as this method of anaesthesia has become a daily routine on the Balearic islands.
To prepare the body for the major undertaking of giving birth many believe that regular exercise together with relaxation treatments can make a big difference to the duration and stress of giving birth.
Shiatsu Acupuncture Massage
Tel. 670 436 269
Acupuncture massage which helps to open the energy point and create better flow in the body.
Café of Life
Tel. 971 718 210
Chiropractor (see Article)
Tel. 971 547 373
Deutsches Frauenarzt Zentrum
Dr. med. Jürgen Oermann
C/Bon Temps s/n
Tel: 971 692 008
Dr. Renate Wiesner-Bornstein
Internationales Facharztzentrum Mallorca
Avda. Picasso, 57
07014 Palma de Mallorca
Tel. 971 220 666
Hospital de Manacor
Ctra. Manacor-Port d’Alcudia
Tel. 971 847 000
C/. Unión 9 (near C & A)
Tel. 971 228 067
Internationales Facharztzentrum Palma
Dr. Christiane Springer
Dr. med. M. Terrasa
Porto Pi, 8
Tel: 971 707 055
Private hospital in Palma
Cami dels Reis s/n
Tel: 971 918 000
Clinica Picasso 57
Dr. med. Paul Raas
Avenida Picasso 57
Tel: 971 220 666
Ctra. Manacor, KM 4
Sa creu vermella
Tel: 871 202 000
Camí de la Vileta, 30
Tel: 971 767 000
Santiago Russiñol, 9
Tel: 971 448 500