Bologna Inside - Second Edition

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4 > HEALTH

WOMEN’S HEALTH

A consultorio familiare is a special health care center for women staffed by gynecologists and specialized nurses. Some of the centers also offer services for children. If you are covered by the SSN, you can go here for gynecological exams, health care during pregnancy, counseling during menopause and birth control. It’s not necessary to have a referral from your general practitioner. As a resident, you will receive a letter every three years from the state inviting you to make an appointment for a free pap test. More frequent pap tests are fee-based and you may have to insist to book the visit. Make an appointment for a pap test, breast or gynecological exam (all separate visits) at a consultorio familiare at any CUP window in the city. Consultori are listed in the yellow pages under AZIENDA USL, SERVIZI PER LE DONNE E PER LA FAMIGLIA.

Many women opt to see a gynecologist outside of the SSN to have the same physician throughout their pregnancies. This kind of continuity is not guaranteed if you use a consultorio familiare.

PRENATAL CARE

Although you may not always see the same doctor, the consultori familiari are set up to follow a woman throughout her pregnancy and the doctors and obstetric nurses who work there are well-trained. Monthly check-ups are free. You will take precedence over others when reserving blood tests through the SSN and you will be able to have other tests at the consultorio familiare or else be given referrals for testing elsewhere. Some women find the public route quite convenient. It is definitely your least expensive option. You may feel more comfortable going the more costly private route, especially if you already have a good relationship with a gynecologist or if extras such as a private room or a video of your ultrasound are important to you.

Whether you choose private or public, you will give birth in one of the city’s public hospitals. Your doctor may not actually be there when the big day arrives, as births are handled by the obstetrician on duty.

PRENATAL COURSES

Both private organizations and public structures offer courses for expectant mothers and couples. Information about courses like Lamaze, water gymnastics and prenatal yoga is available at consultori familiari. Two organizations offering such courses are listed below.

Associazione Il Nido

Via Zanardi, 56
Tel. 051.6350911
Il Nido was founded by obstetric nurses and provides prenatal courses and counseling with a special focus on natural childbirth. It can provide information for home births, the cost of which are 50% covered by the SSN. It also offers new mothers instruction on nursing, weaning and child-development.

ASIA

Via Riva Reno, 124
Tel. 051.225588
In addition to yoga and Aikido classes, ASIA offers special yoga classes for pregnant women, baby massage classes and post-partum courses.

WATER BIRTH

Water births are available in Lugo, a town in the province of Ravenna about 45 minutes from Bologna, as well as in Porretta Terme, also a 45-minute drive. At the hospital in Bentivoglio, expectant mothers may labor in water. For hospitals in Bentivoglio and Porretta Terme, see Chapter 9: Provincia.

TOURING THE HOSPITAL

You can tour the birthing unit prior to your due date. During this visit, you will be given a list of things to bring with you for your stay. Remember that public hospitals do not provide towels, nightgowns, slippers, baby clothes, or cutlery. Patients often share rooms.

I went to the foreign women’s health clinic a couple of times before I got my papers in order. The staff was very helpful and understanding and I was extremely satisfied with the medical care I received.

Ann Gagliardi

PAIN MEDICATION DURING LABOR

It is standard procedure to only administer epidurals by special advance request. The same holds true for other pain medications during labor. You must make preparations before you are admitted to the hospital.

BABY’S PAPERWORK

The city has established special offices in the maternity wards where you can officially register your child’s birth. Take advantage of this service, as it’s a fast-track for entering the labyrinth of Italian paperwork. If you delay until after you come home from the hospital you may find that you face a long waiting period while papers are processed, during which time it will be difficult to do things like establish your baby’s residency. As soon as possible after the birth and establishing residency, sign your infant up for the SSN at your district’s anagrafe sanitaria.

If your baby was or will be born in your home country to an Italian parent and you plan to return to Italy to live, it is important that the Italian citizen notify the nearest Italian consulate in the country of the baby’s birth. It is then the consulate’s responsibility to notify the anagrafe in the city or town where the Italian parent is a resident, in order to process the child’s Italian citizenship and other paperwork. If you have your baby outside of Italy, it is wise to request an apostille with the official birth certificate from the vital statistics department in your home country to bring back to Italy with you. For information on apostilles, see Chapter 10: Long Term.