Every day in Curacao the sun shines brightly over the rooftops, the baby blue sky is dotted with puffy white clouds, the grass shines of a brilliant green, and….. I’m pregnant. What does this mean for a woman living in Curacao? Well, for a woman who has lived in Canada for most of her life, it means that she doesn’t have to wear layers of clothing to go out or frantically avoid catching a cold.
Curacao is a wonderful place to be pregnant. For nine months pregnant women are encouraged to follow a certain lifestyle to stay physically and mentally healthy and Curacao is just the place to fulfill such a routine. Curacao’s climate allows pregnant women to be physically active outdoors, whether it is taking a brisk stroll by the beach or going for a swim. Pregnant women do not have to get away from their busy lives to stay mentally balanced either. Curacao’s serene environment and beautiful sights are the perfect medicine for stress and tension. And when it comes to eating healthy there are plenty of easy options like simply popping your head out of your window to grab a mango. Every week there is a variety of fresh fruits in the store and market, as well as fish and eggs and, of course, dairy.
For moms-to-be that want to share their experience with other women in the same boat and want to maintain their flexibility while learning how to cope with pregnancy and delivery, Yoga with Kirti at the Kirtana 168 yoga center is the perfect place to go. Kirti will help you ease into your pregnancy and deal with your pregnancy woes. She will help you to focus on your breathing and prepare for delivery. And her yoga exercises will help your body to recover after your baby is born. What is even more wonderful is that a new mom has the option of continuing her yoga classes with her newborn.
Many pregnant women who have come from big cities to live in Curacao often wonder “how will I find what I need for the baby on this small island with such a limited variety of products?” It is a valid question, however, there are a number of places women can visit that accommodate all their needs, although in limited variety and sometimes at a higher cost.
From my experience so far, Superkids in Zuikertuin Mall and Mom & Co. in Promenade Mall have a number of baby products such as diaper cloths, tubs, diaper bags, mosquito nets, baby furniture, toys, clothing, bottles and accessories, strollers and much more. For diaper creams and baby bath products Botica Cerrito in Promenade Mall offers a large variety of quality products. For diapers and toys, Goisco seems to be at the top of the list in terms of price, although diapers can be found in almost any grocery store on the island. A little bird recently told me that there are two stores in particular, Highlights and Good Times near Salina that sell diaper clothes, bibs, clothing etc. for newborns at a good price. And finally, for all those moms-to-be that want to dress their little one in the cutest outfits, there are a couple of stores in Bloempot Mall that can help with that such as Cocoon Baby & Kids. For other important products such as breast pumps, baby monitors, crib bedding and baby carriers, although these are available on the island but in limited variety, I have found it more appealing to order them online. That is always an option for any product that you are looking for.
In Curacao there are two methods of care that can be chosen by the pregnant woman. She can opt to see a gynecologist every month until her delivery, and many doctors will recommend Dr. Voigt in Emmastad, or she can choose a midwife at the Nurse Care Clinic (Kraam KliniK). With the former choice, pregnant women deliver at the hospital, whereas with the latter choice pregnant women deliver at the clinic or can choose to have a home birth. Either way, the experience is wonderful and the focus and care is direct and intimate.
One important part of pregnancy is health insurance. For women who are coming to live in Curacao and planning to have a baby in the near future must know that in order to be covered under health insurance they must wait at least 10 months from the start of their health insurance. Insurance companies like Ennia and Fatum offer first, second and third class insurance. The benefit of first class is that the insuree is guaranteed a private room with air conditioning at the hospital which is quite a treat for a woman who is in labour. Health insurance covers all hospital and doctor’s visits, blood tests, nurse care and medication. Be sure to obtain health insurance for your little one within one month after he or she is born.
Another nice part of having a baby in Curacao is that women can choose to hire a home-care nurse for a few hours every day for the first week after delivery. Her responsibilities are to help the new mother and baby adapt to each other, weigh the baby and take its temperature, help with breast-feeding, help the mother with healing and help around the house. Depending on a woman’s health insurance coverage, this care can be fully or partially covered. Women also have the option of continuing further care after the first week if they feel it necessary. One nurse in particular by the name of Carmen seems to be the most popular on the island when it comes to home care and she is almost always available. There are also many nurses available through the Nurse Care Clinic.
So for those women who are living in Curacao and are pregnant or planning to get pregnant, there is no need to worry about the experience you will have. There are plenty of options for you in terms of baby products, medical care and staying healthy and relaxed. It is not always easy to get all the information you will need to prepare for your baby but there are so many people around you that can provide advice on these aspects because you are not alone. And Curacao is just the perfect place to have a baby because you can fulfill all of your needs without having to go too far all in a beautiful and climate and easy-going environment.
This article is a guest column by Rajvee Mehta.