Being pregnant is a daunting experience for most parents-to-be but the Cayman Islands is lucky to have world-class care with highly trained doctors, nurses and midwifes who will see you through this wonderful experience. To help demystify the process, here is an overview of the maternity care you can expect to receive in the Cayman Islands.
In the Cayman Islands there are two options to choose from when considering your prenatal care and delivery:
All the obstetricians (OBs) in Cayman are highly qualified and come from all over the world including America, Canada, the UK, the Caribbean, India and beyond. They all have ultrasound equipment in their clinics and provide world-class care that you would expect to receive in any developed country.
If you have decided to receive private care, then as soon as you think you may be pregnant (or even better, when you decide you are going to start trying) you should book an appointment with an OB/GYN. If you are pregnant, you will probably have your first scan at around six weeks. If your medical history is such that it may affect your pregnancy, it is important to have a consultation before conceiving.
The doctor you choose will guide you through your entire pregnancy and deliver your baby with the help of a team of highly trained midwives.
It is also possible to opt for a midwife delivery through the Woman’s Health Clinic at the Health Services Authority. Through this route the expectant mother receives expert care through a team of 17 midwives who will manage the prenatal care and deliver the baby. The midwives are highly qualified and trained to deliver babies – parents-to-be from the UK will be familiar with this system of care through the NHS. The department also has four OB/GYNs, three of which are female, on call 24 hours a day should there be any problems.
The hospital has ultrasound equipment in the Radiology department where ultra sounds are performed at weeks 18 and 20. There are also portable ultrasound machines in the Women’s Health Department and on the Maternity Ward.
While choosing midwife care is a more cost effective option for having a baby in the Cayman Islands, both mum-to-be and baby can still expect to receive fantastic world-class care.
After your first appointment, most OBs and midwives will usually see you every four weeks up until 28 weeks, every two weeks until 36 weeks and then every week until full term, which is the standard in most countries. If there are any issues during your pregnancy, you will be seen more frequently. In special circumstances you may have to go overseas before or after delivery for treatment, although thankfully such cases are rare. Baptist Health offers medical care for mothers and newborns, and has neonatologists readily available to support the needs of yourself and your newborn baby.
Early on in your pregnancy, you will be required to undertake some initial blood tests to rule out any infections or concerns. These usually include:
You can also opt to have the NIPT (Non-Invasive Prenatal Test) from ten weeks to screen for certain chromosomal and genetic conditions such as Down Syndrome. Your doctor will seek approval from your insurance company before conducting the test (which is a simple blood test). Most insurance companies cover a portion of the testing fee if you are 35 years or older, or you have a medical condition to warrant the test. Otherwise, you will be responsible for covering the cost of the test if you opt to have it done. Between 18-23 weeks of pregnancy you will have the detailed anatomy scan of the baby to screen for congenital structural abnormalities.
Between 24-28 weeks you will be given the Glucose Tolerance Test to screen for Gestational Diabetes. You will have to fast before the blood test in the morning. You will then be given a glucose drink and then another blood test an hour later. If your results show any cause for concern, you will be required to start controlling your sugar intake. Any further medical treatment can be administered in Cayman. In general it is advised that all pregnant women limit sugar intake during pregnancy.
As you get closer to your due date, it’s advised that you discuss your birth plan with your OB/GYN or midwife including your thoughts on pain relief during labour. You will also have the opportunity to pick which paediatrician you would like to care for your newborn. You can chose a private or public health paediatrician.
It’s recommended that you prepare for childbirth by enroling in some prenatal classes.
In the Cayman Islands, all babies are born in hospitals. Home and water births are not currently offered. There are two maternity wards in Grand Cayman and one in Cayman Brac. If you have a private OB/GYN then you should discuss which hospital they practice at. It’s also recommended that you tour your chosen hospital beforehand to familiarise yourself with the space, staff and amenities.
Most high risk pregnancies can be managed on-Island and the NICU at the Cayman Islands Hospital provides excellent care for premature babies from 28 weeks. In emergencies, they can also care for babies born even earlier. In some cases the decision may be taken to transfer the mum-to-be or the newborn overseas, most likely to the USA.
If this is required, it is worth noting that if the baby has been born it will still require an emergency passport to travel, and you will need your passport and a visa if required. Organising all of these documents in a rush could be very complicated, so make sure your documents are in order and valid should you need them.
As most baby books will tell you, you don’t need to head straight to the hospital once you feel your first contraction. It is, however, advisable to discuss in advance with your OB/GYN or midwife when to contact them and how. Once you have made contact, be sure to follow their advice carefully. Top tips for labour include:
Once you have given birth, you will continue to receive great care from the midwives and nurses at the hospital. At HSA you will receive help with breast feeding and caring for your baby in the 48 hours after delivery. You’ll find that nothing is too much trouble for the wonderful staff. Nurse Olive and Nurse Martiza will also teach you how to gently bath your tiny newborn and how to put your baby in the car seat ready for discharge.The Midwives from Women’s Health are also happy to make a home visit once you have delivered your baby and help with any concerns or issues that you might be having.
How long you stay in the hospital is a decision both you and your doctor will make. Some women feel more comfortable with a longer stay, while others prefer to go home earlier. Here are a few other things to consider:
In need of more information?
Read our page on Costs, Insurance and Complications for pregnancy in Cayman.
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