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Starting a family in Barcelona

Starting a family in Barcelona: What you need to know about pregnancy and childbirth in the city

Barcelona is a great place to live and raise a family. If you’re planning to move to the city or have been living here for a while and decided to start a family, this article is of your interest as we’re going to share all the details you need to know about pregnancy and childbirth in Barcelona.


Starting a family is quite a milestone, a whole new world opens up to you and you won’t know where to start. If you’re not in your home country, the level of discovery will only increase. You find yourself questioning where to go for a pregnancy follow up, how it works compared to your home country and  what are the standards and options available in the city for giving birth.

Starting a family in Barcelona: What you need to know about pregnancy and childbirth in the city

Pregnancy follow up - Public and Private healthcare

If you’re expecting a baby, you can decide whether you want to do the follow up through Public or Private Healthcare. It’s not compulsory to have private insurance in Spain as it is in other countries. Some people choose to have private insurance in order to cut the waiting time and have broader access to English speaking doctors.


Both healthcare systems are of high quality in Barcelona.

How to access healthcare in Barcelona

Public healthcare

You will be entitled to access to public healthcare if you’re working and living in Spain (a portion of the taxes from your salary are assigned to Public Health coverage), if you’re married to someone working in Spain or if you’re living in Spain and are pregnant amongst other criterias. There are no time restrictions as long as one of the criterias is being met.


Private healthcare

You will need private insurance for coverage of maternity costs. Most insurance companies have a minimum time period (6-12 months)  in order to access maternity cost coverage. You should check the conditions with your private insurance company.

Differences between Public and Private healthcare pregnancy follow up appointments

Public healthcare

Maternity health services are available in your local health centre known as CAP (Centro de Atencion Primaria). Your pregnancy will be followed by a midwife who will inform you of the overall pregnancy process – expected changes on your body and healthy recommended habits, tests and number of visits, to name a few things. 

There are some prenatal care courses available in most CAPs in Barcelona – for example, birth preparation courses and breastfeeding introduction. It’s a nice way to meet other expecting parents and build a little community. Most of these courses are held in Spanish or Catalan so the language barrier might be an issue if you’re not fluent in the local languages.

Private healthcare

Maternity health services are normally located in the private clinics or private doctor’s office. Unlike the Public healthcare system, your pregnancy is followed up by a doctor (obgyn) and only at the end of the pregnancy will you be seen by a midwife. The number of check ups, tests and scans tend to be higher for private healthcare than public. You almost have check ups every month if you go Private, compared to check ups every trimester with Public healthcare. Depending on the clinic, there are some prenatal courses available for expectant parents that you can check with your doctor.

starting a family in Barcelona

Birthing options - What to consider

There are several options for giving birth in Barcelona – from bigger hospitals to smaller private clinics all with different characteristics. Where to give birth is a very personal decision and it’s recommended that you research the options available in the city in order to decide the one that is closer to your preferences. Most of the hospitals and clinics provide an informational tour so you can learn about the facilities, their teams and delivery options.

Again, we will talk about the two healthcare systems (Public and Private) and their variances.


Public Healthcare

Big hospitals in the city are run by the Public Healthcare. Completely natural childbirth tends to be more common in Barcelona’s public hospitals where midwives play a bigger role as long as it relates to a non high-risk delivery and there are no complications.

Each district has a public hospital assigned, so if you have done the pregnancy follow up through the Public system (CAP), you should check with your midwife the Hospital that is assigned to you. In case you prefer a different Public Hospital, you need a referral from the doctor or midwife.


Private Healthcare

Private healthcare is associated with smaller clinics, private rooms and better facilities and they tend to have higher intervention rates. Each clinic has their own characteristics and if you have been doing the follow up within the clinic, your doctor will inform you of the delivery options available and the professional team involved.

In case you’ve been doing the follow up through the Public CAP or somewhere external, your midwife/doctor will share your clinical case with the Hospital/Clinic in which you have decided you will give birth.

Home birth

It’s not as common as other countries and it’s not covered by Social Security. In case you want to opt for this option, you will need to hire a midwife at your own cost. They provide several services and they will be by your side throughout the whole process of giving birth as well as prenatal and postnatal care depending on your needs.

Peculiarities of being pregnant and giving birth in Barcelona compared to other countries

As mentioned earlier, the Public and Private healthcare system in Barcelona are of very high quality. Actually, Spanish healthcare universal systems is included in the top 10 best healthcares of the world. Having said that, there might be certain aspects that come as a surprise when you’re pregnant or have given birth in Barcelona.


Let’s see some of them:

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