In Spain, pregnant women are trying desperately to have their babies before the end of the year so as qualify for a government birth incentive.
In July of 2007, Spain’s government, in an attempt to raise the birthrate in the country, offered what has been called the cheque bebé in which any Spanish women who gave birth in Spain will be given a check for €2,500 (£2,128, $2,823). This birth incentive as well as many other governmental programs are being eliminated in 2011, all part of Spain’s austerity measures.
This has caused a number of pregnant women to almost do anything to have their babies before the clock strikes midnight, and the new year begins, and the cheque bebé ends.
A midwife at a Seville hospital says she has seen a huge increase in the number of women entering the hospital recently.
“What we’re seeing in the public sector is that women who are due to give birth in the first fortnight of January are coming in and saying they are spotting blood or that their waters have broken,” she said. “They don’t dare say so openly but we know they want to bring the due date forward. We examine them and send them home.”
Inducing labor has also been requested according to José Ángel Espinosa, the associate head of gynecology at the Quirón hospital in Madrid, adding, “If they’ve reached 38 weeks and they ask us to do it, we will.”
But he points out that no mother-to-be will be induced unless they and the baby are ready. “It’s my watch on the 31st, And I’m not going to let anyone put one over on me.”
Some mothers have even gone so far as to schedule dates for caesarean sections to be before the end of the year, even if they are not absolutely necessary. The medical director of the Belén clinic in Madrid, David Marchante, has said that while the expectant mothers don’t come right out and say it, it is pretty obvious they wish to have their babies by the end of the year.
Regarding the c-sections, Marchante said “If there is no medical reason not to, we can do that.”