On becoming pregnant in Cyprus, first visit an obstetrician. Any Cyprus resident who is registered with the general hospital in a town may be entitled to free health care there. Alternatively there are numerous private clinics across the island to choose from.
Once your pregnancy has been confirmed, you generally have your first scan at 5 weeks, then every three weeks until you are about 7-8 months pregnant. Thereafter you go every two weeks for scans to monitor the latest progress of your baby.
Prenatal Screening Program
All pregnant women undergo a blood test in the 1st trimester of their pregnancy. The two biochemical parameters that are measured in the blood, in combination with the age of the mother and a foetal ultrasound reading (nuchal translucency thickness) are used to generate a risk for trisomy 21 (Down’s Syndrome), the most common cause of severe mental retardation.
Should the pregnancy be regarded as “high risk” for this syndrome, the woman is advised to undergo chromosomal testing following an amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling (CVS). Chromosomal testing is carried out at the
This screening program is carried out in collaboration with the Pancyprian Society of Gynaecology and Obstetrics and the Cyprus Branch of the Foetal Medicine Foundation. CLICK HERE for more details
This can be done at the Local General Hospitals (for women who are registered there) or at the special The Center for Preventive Paediatrics.
When a pregnant woman visits the gynaecologist between the 8th and 13th (plus 6 days) week of pregnancy (preferably around the 10th week) she will have some blood withdrawn. Her doctor will also take down some readings of the pregnancy on a special report. It is the patient’s responsibility to deliver the sample and form to the premises of the Center for Preventive Paediatrics:
The Center operates five days per week, excluding weekends, from 8am until 3:30pm continuously. It is most important that the samples be handed over to the courier service by 12 noon (in Paralimni area they should be handed over by 10am).
The Center’s lab then performs the biochemical test on the blood sample and sends the results back to the gynaecologist who in turn ensures that the sonographic measurement of the foetal nuchal translucency is done. This can only be performed between 11 –13+6 weeks by a doctor – affiliated to the Cyprus Branch of the Foetal Medicine Foundation (FMF). The combined result-risk based upon the sonographic measurement and the biochemical test is sent both to the requesting gynaecologist and the Center for Preventive Paediatrics. The former will offer genetic counseling where appropriate .
The general hospitals of Cyprus may provide some antenatal classes for free; these are generally held in the morning. Some private clinics provide classes (it depends on each doctor) and there is a fee for these.
Water birth and natural birth facilities, as well as home births are not common Cyprus. Some private clinics allow for a birth plan. The General Hospital's have their own methods and don't allow for an individual woman's wishes. Caesarean deliveries are frequently used Cyprus.
You can notify your employer anytime you want but preferably before you start to show!
There is no paternity leave allowance in
Maternity Allowance or Epidoma Mitrotitas
If you work or have worked in
You are entitled to 18 weeks paid maternity leave in total. This can be done by visiting your local Social Security offices and obtaining a maternity leave form. Alternatively you can print one from their website by clicking here (Note that all forms are in Greek) This form will need to be signed by you, your employer and your doctor and then returned to them at least 5 months prior to the birth. For information how to fill this in in English, please click here.
Birth Grant or Epidoma Toketou
Birth Grant is for after the birth. This form also must be obtained from the social security offices or by clicking here and will need to be filled in by you and given to the social offices after you have had the baby with the actual date of birth and a copy of the birth certificate. For information how to fill this in in English, please click here
Your birth plan (if you have one)
An old nightdress or T shirt to wear in labour (although they provide you with one of those hospital gowns that doesn’t close at the back! Hence the dressing gown requirement!)
Lip balm (lanolin cream mentioned below can be used for dry lips!)
Snacks and drinks or glucose tablets (Lucozade worked for me)
Watch with a second hand to time contractions (for natural births)
Digital camera or camcorder for first baby shots
Relaxation materials: books, magazines and so on.
Hairband. (If you have long hair, you will probably want it tied up)
TENS pain relief machine, if you are planning to use one
For your birth partner
Change of clothes, toothbrush and deodorant (you can leave these in car just in case)
Comfortable shoes. You may be pacing corridors!
Mobile phone (plus extra credit for mum, you will be texting a lot)
Snacks and drinks (cause they need energy too!)
After the birth
Going-home outfit (for baby)
Breast pads (also nipple shields – half moon ones are recommended from mother care - and I highly recommend Lanolin crème for sore nipples. Use before and after, no wash required and its pretty amazing stuff – from any
Maternity pads (called 40 nights in local supermarkets – normal pads wont do and you cant wear tampons)
Nightdress or pyjamas (ones that easily open at the top if you plan to breastfeed!)
Toiletries: towels, hairbrush, toothbrush and toothpaste (showering may be difficult at first if you have a c-section but you can request your husband/partner to help if you don’t want the nurses to)
Old, cheap or disposable knickers (not the tiny kind either you will probably be bleeding quite heavily after the birth but don’t be alarmed this is natural and small pants wont hold the rather large maternity pads – think big pants like Bridget Jones.. only not SO big! )
For your baby
Infant car seat (make sure you practice how it all works before you go to hospital ready for when you leave, you don’t want to be battling with it in the parking lot!)
One outfit for the trip home (all-in-one stretchy outfits are easiest – no belts or buttons in case you have a c-section so loose waistlines)
Baby blanket (a warm one if weather is cold)
Nappies (you do get given nappies but its best to take a few of your own too!)
One pair of socks or booties (all in one baby grows fix this)
Dummies - baby bottles for feeding (hospitals have their own and sterilise them but these are used for everyone so its always nice to have your own)
Sudocrem for nappy rash
Proseptic Gel (you will need this for cleaning the area of the umbilical cord but you will need small sterilized gauze's for when you get home. Whilst in hospital they will provide this) Ear cotton wool buds are great for gently cleansing after first putting the gel on)
Some of this information has been taken from the Social Services website in Cyprus. Please visit their site on http://www.mlsi.gov.cy/ or call them on 22 401 725. This is the number for maternity leave and birth grant inquiries ONLY.