Women’s health in Chile

Availability of contraception and sanitary products

Despite Chile being a largely Catholic country, National Health programs have widely promoted birth control methods in the country. Condoms can be bought at pharmacies, however, you may find the prices quite high – especially those with brand names. The contraceptive pill can be bought over the counter in a pharmacy without the need for a prescription.

However, in order to get the morning-after pill, an appointment with a doctor is necessary, as you will require a prescription at the pharmacy. Other methods of birth control are also available in Chile, such as the implant and IUDs.

Tampons are hard to come by in Chile, and even when you do find them they are very expensive – the majority of Chilean women don’t use them. Tampons are only found in pharmacies or large supermarkets and cost around US$7 a box. On the other hand, sanitary pads are readily available.

Pregnancy

Most expats who have a baby in Chile opt for private care to get the best service possible. There are clinics with top doctors, trained abroad and specialized in gynecology, obstetrics and fetal health in private institutions such as Clínica Alemana de Santiago and Clínica Las Condes. If you are going for a private clinic, make sure that your health insurance covers the necessary medical care during pregnancy, labor, and postnatal treatment.

Scans and routine checks

During your pregnancy your overall health and nutritional state will be monitored to make sure the baby is healthy, with regular prenatal visits and ultrasound scans.

Childbirth: standards, birth plans and postnatal care

Your doctor will make sure that your new baby is given the right care by introducing you to a breastfeeding program during the first few months. In addition, there will be several routine immunizations.

The number of c-sections are very high in Chile, doctors will offer a c- section for women who are worried about pain. Nevertheless, if you want a natural birth then the doctor will comply with your wishes. Although home births are not very common they can be carried out with the support of a doctor or midwife if you so wish, however, not all doctors will offer this service.

The total cost of a natural birth and postnatal care is around half the price of what you would expect to pay in the United States. Even a c-section in Chile is around 40% cheaper than what it would be in the States.

If your baby is delivered in Chile, then your newborn is entitled to a dual citizenship. For more information about dual citizenship, contact your embassy. Once you have given birth, the hospital will provide you with a local birth certificate in order to register the birth at your local embassy.

Abortion

Abortion is illegal in Chile in all cases. In fact, Chile’s abortion rules are considered to be one of the most restrictive in the world. Nevertheless, in recent years there have been talks to change the laws and allow abortion in certain cases such as incest or rape.

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