What surprised me about the pregnancy in France

Interesting facts about the pregnancy in France!

As every nation and different cultures, each of us has a different set of rules, priorities, ways of doing things. Some are more acceptable some are totally surprising, some put us off totally and make us want to come back to our country. But we’re over this, we understand, at least I try to understand that living abroad makes me keep and share my culture but also accept and adopt to the new one. The reason I’m writing about it is to explain that there are some differences and things that surprised me about pregnancy in France and finally to say that the different doesn’t mean worse! So to start with, let me present you what exactly surprised me about pregnancy in France. The fact that:

What surprised me about the pregnancy in France

You can rent a breastfeeding pump at the nearest French pharmacy with a prescription from your doctor. Social security will cover the cost for an entire year.

breastfeeding pump renting

Pregnancies last one week longer in France , however, the pregnancy itself isn’t actually longer, just the amount of time considered to be full term. In France they count 40 weeks and 6 days from the date of your last period to get your due date, whereas in the UK, for example,  it’s 39 weeks and 6 days.

one week longer in France

There’s regular screening for toxoplasmosis . On top of many standard blood tests you are asked to do while being pregnant, in France they prescribe a pregnant women a regular screening against something called toxoplasmosis (toxoplasmose). Toxoplasmosis is a common infection that is usually harmless. But if you get toxoplasmosis for the first time while you’re pregnant, or a few months before you conceive, there’s a small risk the infection could cause: miscarriage, stillbirth, birth defects or problems after the baby is born – this is very rare. France is one of the few countries where pregnant women are regularly screened for toxoplasmosis infection. If you aren’t immune you will have to do monthly blood and urine tests to check you haven’t become infected. 

regular screening for toxoplasmosis

Each pregnant woman in France has a right to up to 8 childbirth classes. They are carried by the midwife, better by the independent midwife and they are fully reimbursed by the security sociale. Subjects covered included the stages of labour, pain relief, breathing exercises, birth complications, caring for a baby, caring for yourself, breastfeeding.

Free childbirth classes

Ridiculously short maternity. You get 16 weeks maternity leave in France; that’s six before your due date and ten after. You can shift this to have three weeks before and 13 after, should you wish, but no more. And this also will only depend on your doctor. Usually, doctors tend to give you the sick leave if they feel your pregnancy is at risk or the activities you are performing are too challenging for the pregnancy. After, they prescribe you so called maternity pathologic. It last up to 14 days no longer and it acts like the extension of the maternity in case the pregnancy is at a higher risk. And finally, you reach the standard 6 weeks maternity before the delivery date.

Normally, there are only 3 ultrasounds. I have expected more. And the doctor can subscribe you more if he sees there is a need. Otherwise, in France, they think that is the pregnancy is going ok, you need just 3 main ultrasounds but monthly meeting at the hospital or with your gynecologist, either with the midwife or doctor.

only 3 ultrasounds

ACTE DE RECONNAISSANCE. In France, it is very popular that couples expecting the baby are unmarried. The mum is automatically recognised as the mam of the newborn. However,  the father need to declare his paternity. It is advised to do it before the delivery. In case of any accidents to the mother, he will than be sure he is recognized as the eligible father of the newborn.

Interesting facts about the pregnancy in France!

Thank you for reading my observations. Now, I’m very curious to find out if you heard or have other experiences about pregnancy in France. Please share with me. Thank you!


I am a Polish girl who felt in love with Lyon from the first sight! Jadorelyon is my way of exploring France, the French way of life, their cuisine, sharing the experience from visiting beautiful places in France. Jadorelyon is my new way of adding some Polish influence into French lives and watching on how they like it...

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