Pregnancy and childbirth: USA vs. France

Pregnancy and childbirth are extraordinary times and events in the life of a woman and her family. If you have had several pregnancies, the course of your gynecological follow-up care may have varied. This event can be all the more different if you have decided to give birth to your baby in a country other than your home country. There are differences in the care pathway of a pregnant woman in the United States. In this article we highlight this comparison.

tracking differences

There are a large number of differences in the gynecologic follow-up of a pregnant woman between France and the United States. Be it the frequency of examinations, ultrasound examinations or the preparation for birth.

examinations during pregnancy

In the United States of America, the aftercare of your pregnancy mainly depends on your doctor’s habits and your medical condition. There is therefore no precise course of treatment. As a rule, the appointments with your “Ob-Gyn” (gynaecologist-obstetrician) are monthly. In some cases, especially in the last trimester, these visits can be weekly. However, some examinations or ultrasounds are less systematic if you do not have any complications or health problems. This is the case, for example, when examining the cervix, a check is carried out at the beginning of pregnancy and at every visit in the last month of pregnancy. In France, this test is carried out at each visit to your gynecologist or midwife.

The medical teams in the US are known to be very good and very caring, so don’t worry, everything will be fine.

It is also advisable for expectant mothers to attend the antenatal sessions to capture this joyful event in a serene manner.

Another special feature of pregnancy in the USA are the prenatal vitamins. They are popular in the United States. You can find it easily. It is of course advisable to speak to your doctor before taking it.

The different structures

You have the choice of where you want to give birth, there are several solutions:

1. The hospital: You can choose to give birth in a hospital, where you will be looked after by your gynaecologist/obstetrician (“Ob-Gyn”).

2. The Birth Centers: This is a center where midwives, doulas and coaches assist you in giving birth in home-like conditions. You can find double beds, sofas, coffee tables or even bathtubs for those who want to give birth in the water. You can go home just a few hours after the delivery.

3. Home Birth: You can choose to give birth at home by hiring a midwife or doulas.

length of hospital stay

The length of your hospital stay after the birth depends on the course of your delivery, but also on your health insurance. The average length of stay in hospital is two days for a basic birth and three days for a cesarean birth. Depending on your pickup, you may be able to stay up to four days. In France, women generally stay in hospital for four to five days. The lead time is therefore a little shorter in the USA.

If you have good medical insurance, you will have the opportunity to be accommodated in a comfortable room and benefit from the great attention of the establishment’s staff. You are not a patient, you are a customer.


There are fewer differences between France and America when it comes to the postnatal period. A follow-up of the constants of the mother and the baby is carried out.

However, in the US, evidence of postpartum scarring is less systematic than in France. Penile rehabilitation is also not offered to mothers after childbirth in the United States. In fact, it is considered that this work can be done alone and in a personal way. In France, you are offered support to get advice from health professionals on this subject.

The staff is again very available and you can get advice from a midwife after your birth, this is a much more common practice than in France.

price differences

In the United States of America, healthcare is a business where most facilities are private. It is therefore necessary to anticipate the financial costs that this entails.

In the United States, the cost of childbirth depends on a variety of factors.

● The chosen facility;

● the type of delivery (natural or cesarean section);

● The state where you are giving birth.

In fact, giving birth will cost you more if you live in Ohio than in Alabama. On average, you will need between $20,000 and $50,000. To the cost of delivery, you need to add the cost of pre-birth consultations (e.g. routine obstetric care) as well as possible post-birth consultations. In order to be able to cover all these costs, good health insurance is important.

Good health insurance

You have the option to take out local or international health insurance. Regardless of your choice, it’s important to review the contract’s guarantees, waiting periods, maximum limits, and deductible. In most cases, you will need to include a maternity option in your policy in order to be covered. Don’t forget to check how long the newborn will be cared for after birth.

Regardless of your choice of insurance, it is important to check that you are covered for both the mother and the child in the event of complications.


Medicaid is an American program that provides health insurance to low-income people. Only permanent residents for more than 5 years are eligible, subject to certain financial conditions. If you meet these conditions, your birth may be covered by Medicaid. However, within certain limits, states can define their own criteria. It is therefore important to be well informed beforehand.

local insurance

You can indeed get local health insurance by checking the maternity insurance conditions. We advise you to be careful in your choice. Check the supply networks of the upstream insurance company: to obtain reimbursement, you must contact one of their service providers (doctors, laboratories, pharmacies, etc.).

The majority of American insurance companies operate on an out-of-pocket model. You therefore have to pay part of the care fee. This point can be particularly daunting when looking at birth rates in the US.

International Insurance

The main advantage of French insurance vs. American insurance is that there is no co-payment system, no deductible, etc… French insurance companies in fact offer 100% coverage in case of hospitalization, routine treatments or even ongoing medication costs.

In international health insurance contracts, maternity is optional in most cases.

So give birth in France or in the USA?

It’s a very personal choice. There are real differences in pregnancy surveillance between France and the US.

If you have good health insurance in the US that covers 100% of your birth expenses, you have a chance to have access to quality infrastructure and qualified staff at your service. The surgical interventions performed during childbirth are, in most cases, less intrusive than in France (less episiotomy, for example).

In France, you benefit from better care before and after the birth. You will be continuously informed about your health and that of your baby. You will also be better informed about anesthesia in advance. Finally, you have access to postpartum rehabilitation, which is not available in the US.

In any case, giving birth in the USA is very expensive: being well insured is a priority. The experts are at your disposal to find the solution that best suits your needs, depending on your country of residence and your profile.

A question:

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