I have now spent nearly eight years in Panama and have been with my husband for five and half. On 02 March 2014 we welcomed our baby girl into the world here in Panama. I am a US citizen working with an NGO in Panama and my husband is Panamanian.
The experience has been an interesting one. The government in Panama is encouraging women to utilize medical services for prenatal care and delivery of their babies; a change from a generation ago when most babies were still born in the home with the assistance of another women acting as a midwife. The program encourages women to make visits to a clinic while pregnant, giving them a "tarjeta de control" where details of each appointment is recorded. Ultrasounds are performed to check the health and position of the baby and the gender can be determined, if desired.
When the time comes to deliver, women can go to the nearest public hospital with their tarjeta de control and delivery the baby for a minimal cost - usually just to cover the bed and food of the mother during the 24-hour recovery time.
I was even eligible for this program as the father of the baby was Panamanian. What an excellent program to help ensure the greatest health of the mother and baby during pregnancy and delivery! Kudos to Panama for this advancement!