Life in Portugal: Having Children in Portugal

Portugal is an excellent place to raise children. Whether you are planning to move with your kids in Portugal or you already live here and want to have children in the near future, take the time to do proper research before making a decision. Language brings up many questions for families who are moving with children to another country. Since there are only a few international schools in Portugal, it is recommended that your child learns the Portuguese language. Raising kids in this country has the benefit of free preschool education, low university fees, and universal healthcare.

Pregnancy and Birth in Portugal

Many families who move to Portugal decide to have children at some point in their lives. The communities are safe and supportive. The educational system is good. Prenatal care is free and depends on the type of insurance purchased. You can opt for public, private, or subsystem insurance. If you have private insurance, you can choose a clinic where to give birth, as well as a specialist to assist you. Mothers who have public insurance are assigned to an obstetrician in the hospital, with whom regular appointments would be made.

This European country has a National Vaccination Plan (Plano Nacional de Vacinação), which is free of charge. Children born in Portugal are given vaccinations at birth against hepatitis B and tuberculosis. Any baby born on Portuguese territory has to be registered at the Civil Registry Office (Conservatória do Registo Civil) within 20 days of birth.

Children born in Portugal to foreign parents can not receive Portuguese citizenship unless the mother and father have lived in this country for ten years. If the parents are citizens of a country with Portuguese as an official language, the ten year requirement is reduced to six years.

Most women in Portugal give birth at clinics and hospitals, and can have a C-section instead of a natural birth. They are allowed time off work for pre-natal appointment as many times as necessary. There are several non-profit organizations and public institutions offering free information to new mothers, including SOS Grávida (SOS Pregnancy) and Ajuda de Mãe (Help to Mothers). Women can also attend breathing classes ands other courses designed to help them deal with the physical demands of the pregnancy. Natural childbirth has become increasingly more popular in the last years. Water births and home births are available too.

Is Portugal Suitable for Raising Kids?

Knowing how the childcare system works in Portugal is essential. Any child born in this country has to be registered at the Civil Registry Office within 20 days of birth. Pregnant women can not be fired from their jobs without a prior agreement from the Commission for Equality in Work. In the last years, the number of public daycare facilities has increased. Additionally, working mothers have the right to flexible paid maternity leave.

When it comes to finding a school for your children, you have three options: boarding schools, private schools, and state schools. The expat communities in Algarve and Lisbon boast a large number of private schools. State schools will most certainly lead to quicker integration. All children must attend school between the ages of six and 15. Sports, in general, are encouraged. Children also have access to a wide range of cultural activities that include theater, music, and English classes.