CONGRATULATIONS, YOU'RE PREGNANT! NOW WHAT?
You probably have tons of questions related to having a baby in Cyprus. Welcome to our Baby Info page, where we offer answers to
- Baby Care
- Your Healthcare
- Prenatal Classes
- Prenatal Screening
- Birth Plans
- Birth Certificate
- Your Baby's Healthcare
- Neonatal Baby Screening
- Maternity Leave/Allowance
- Maternity Grant
- Child Allowance
- Maternity Wear
BABY CARE - New Addition to our Baby Info Page!
If you have a local Cyprus medical card you are entitled to free healthcare (or at reduced cost) in your town's General Hospital. In case you have private health insurance check whether your contract has a clause regarding pregnancy and childbirth costs, some companies require policy holders to be with them at least one full year before maternity cover applies. Standards of healthcare in Cyprus are high, and the level of care in the maternity wards is often described as more personal and superior to some European countries – mainly due to the smaller patient numbers since Cyprus is not a large country.
Prenatal classes are offered in the Nicosia, Larnaca, Limassol and Paphos General Hospitals in Greek, check our Events section for courses. Some private clinics and hospitals offer them in English, make sure to ask your gynaecologist for details.
The Centre for Preventive Paediatrics is a registered non-profit organization. It was founded in 1988 and has since been a pioneer in the implementation of universal prenatal and neonatal screening programs. The Prenatal Screening Program is offered free of charge to all pregnant women resident in Cyprus, whereby a biochemical examination is carried out during the first trimester of pregnancy at the Center’s laboratory. This result is taken in combination with a foetal ultrasound measurement and the mother’s age to provide the necessary information in calculating a risk for Trisomy 21 and other chromosomal defects that may have afflicted the foetus. For more information please click here.
The concepts of midwife assisted births, water births, home births and the birth plan are not common practice in Cyprus. Caesarean births are frequent. Make sure you discuss your preference with your doctor early on in order to avoid disappointment at the later stages of your pregnancy. If you wish to give birth in a General Hospital you will be guided through the hospital's common practices, which will not necessarily take an individual woman's wishes into consideration.
With the creation of the Cyprus Breastfeeding Association in 2009 breastfeeding has only recently been actively encouraged in the public hospitals. Nurses often routinely still give the baby a bottle, especially at night time in the first days when the baby is in their care. If you wish to have your child with you at all times and ensure it is fed only breast milk, do not hesitate to communicate your request clearly. You can then have your baby next to you in a separate baby bed throughout your stay at the hospital. The Association holds regular Breastfeeding Support Group Meetings in all major towns across Cyprus. Check our Events section for details or refer to the Association's website.
After the birth of the baby, the hospital or private clinic issues a form which documents the basic details of the infant such as birth date, baby's name as well as the parents' names. To register the birth, take this form to your local Citizen Service Center or any District Administration Office. You will be asked to present your own birth certificates, passports, Cyprus Yellow Resident Slip and marriage certificate (unmarried parents are required to sign a declaration of parentage at the local court to state that their child is theirs). The birth certificate is then issued with four to five additional copies against a small fee. To register the birth with your nation's consular office you will need to obtain an 'Apostille' for the Cypriot birth certificate (this is a international certification that a government issued document is indeed authentic) which you can get at the Ministry of Justice and Public Order in Nicosia.
YOUR BABY'S HEALTHCARE
Babies born in Cyprus are entitled to healthcare at the town's General Hospitals. If you have private cover it is advisable that you choose a paediatrician during your pregnancy so that he/she can be present at the birth. Your paediatrician sets the timetable of when and how often your baby should be brought in for check-ups and vaccinations. These immunisations can also be obtained free of charge at any public hospital. Your baby will be given a booklet/child record book which must be taken to each doctor's appointment; it is used for children up to the age of six years and is in Greek, but all vaccinations are detailed in English too.
NEONATAL BABY SCREENING
The Centre for Preventive Paediatrics offers a Neonatal Screening Program that aims at the early detection of two metabolic diseases, namely those of congenital hypothyroidism and phenylketonuria. Blood samples are collected from the neonates by all paediatricians in Cyprus and are forwarded to the Centre’s biochemical laboratory for the appropriate analyses. You can find more details on these programs here. The Neonatal Hearing Screening Program is the third program available from the Centre throughout the whole of Cyprus. It aims at the early detection and diagnosis of neonatal hearing impairment. All these screening programs are offered free of charge to the whole population of Cyprus: neonates and pregnant women alike – both in the public and the private sector. Should you wish to help the Centre meet its financial demands you are welcome to place your donation here , however small or big.
Maternity allowance is payable to you if you are a pregnant employed or self-employed contributor to social security payments, provided at least 26 weeks have passed between the day on which you became insured and the week in which your maternity leave begins. The allowance entitlement is 18 weeks, the amount depends on your salary and social security contributions made and is paid out to you in instalments. After those 18 weeks you are entitled to claim another four months unpaid leave. Forms for the maternity leave and allowance claim are available here (in Greek only) and must be submitted to your local Social Security Office after it has been signed by you, your employer and your doctor. You can find completion guidelines in English here.
This is a one-off payment made to all Cyprus resident women who have given birth, whether they are themselves insured or their husbands are insured. The application form for the grant should be submitted within twelve months from the day of the birth, along with your baby's birth certificate. The form is available here.
The Child Allowance is given to families residing in Cyprus, for children aged up to 18 years living under the same roof, up to 19 years old provided they attend a school of secondary education, up to 21 years old provided they are serving in the National Guard, for children regardless of age if they are permanently deprived of the ability to maintain themselves. The amount is paid annually and determined by the family's income and amount of dependent children. An additional allowance is paid to low income families. Applications must be re-submitted annually to ensure that the parent is still resident here, along with proof from the school that the child is attending there. For an application form, click here.
Fashionable and practical maternity clothes are hard to find locally, whether for the office, every day or for a night out. Some department stores have recently started featuring maternity ranges, but they do come with a hefty price tag. Here at Mums in Cyprus we believe in alternatives and are very proud to team up with The Maternity Wardrobe in order to bring you the online boutique for all your pregnancy fashion needs. Glamour to own or borrow... with free Cyprus delivery! You are always welcome at The Maternity Wardrobe.