Giving birth is an exciting time, but if you’re an expat, the prospect of navigating the Hungarian healthcare system might be quite daunting. So, if you’re expecting, we’ve put together this guide to help you through.
- Prenatal care procedures in Hungary
- Giving birth - process and costs
- Registering a birth in Hungary
- Maternity and paternity leave and benefits in Hungary
Prenatal care procedures in Hungary
In Hungary, an obstetrician/gynaecologist (nőgyógyász) monitors the pregnancy and delivers the baby. As an expat, you have the choice of using the public healthcare system or going private.
To go public, you must have a European Health Insurance Card or similar proof of insurance from your home country. If you’re a resident you need your TAJ card or proof of private insurance.
Once a pregnancy is confirmed with a local health visitor (védőnő), the mother will be issued a booklet (kiskönyv) to record all prenatal appointments. These can be done at a public health clinic or state hospital, or at a private practice. If done with at public facilities with an on-duty doctor, then most visits will cost around 5,000 HUF.
Giving birth - process and costs
The cost of giving birth in a state hospital is around 200,000 - 300,000 HUF. You have the option of working with the on-duty staff or having the doctor you were working within the prenatal phase attend the birth. Keep in mind that they will charge between 100,000 - 150,000 HUF for this and the birth would need to take place at the hospital they work at.
While not required, tipping in Hungarian hospitals is quite common and is now illegal.
If you decide to go private, clinics like Maternity offer full in-patient delivery packages starting from 600,000 HUF, with most prenatal outpatient appointments, procedures and tests costing between 5,000 HUF and 30,000 HUF. Most clinics accept cash, credit card or payment via a private insurance company or health fund.
Once the baby has been delivered, most mothers will stay in the hospital for at least 72 hours and the baby may be taken away and cared for by nursing staff for at least 24 hours. Different hospitals have different policies on visitors to maternity wards. Private clinics will usually offer a shared room so the family can stay together after birth.
Registering a birth in Hungary
Births need to be registered at the local municipality’s registry office (anyakönyvi hivatal). The hospital may take care of this, but if not you’ll need to head to the registry with proof of identity and your Hungarian address card if applicable. For the father to be included on the birth certificate, a marriage certificate (translated into Hungarian if from abroad), or recognition of paternity (jegyzokönyv apai elismerésrol) must be supplied. If both parents are foreign, they must register the birth with their embassy, get a passport for the child and supply a translated copy of this before a full birth certificate will be issued.
Maternity and paternity leave and benefits in Hungary
Mothers are entitled to 24 weeks of maternity leave, however, they can take upto three years off with paid support. For the first six months, they receive 70% of their previous salary via the Pregnancy and Confinement Benefit (Terhességi-gyermekágyi segély). For the next 18 months, the primary carer of the house can receive up to 70% of their previous salary (but capped at twice the minimum daily wage) via the Child Care Fee (Gyermekgondozási díj).
Finally, up to the age of three years, the parents or grandparents of a child can receive a relatively small amount of money via the Child Home Care Allowance (Gyermekgondozási segély). Parents can also receive a one-off Birth Grant (Anyasági támogatás).
Fathers are only entitled to five paid days of paternity leave which must be taken within the first two months after the birth of the child. The father is also entitled to take unpaid leave until the child reaches 3 years of age.