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If you’ve been living in France for a while, it’ll come as no surprise to you that there is a substantial amount of paperwork to keep track of during a pregnancy. Early on, my midwife recommended organizing all of my test results, prescriptions, ultrasounds, etc. into separate file folders or a binder. I decided to put together a medical pregnancy binder for all of my documents. Here’s how you can organize your dossier médical de grossesse as an expectant mother in France.
What is a dossier de suivi de grossesse?
A dossier de suivi de grossesse is a file that gathers all of your essential pregnancy documents into one spot. Medical documents to include in your dossier médical de grossesse include results from bloodwork and urine tests, prescriptions for medications and medical devices, ultrasound reports, vaccination records, and any other pregnancy-related documents. Keeping track of your medical files from the beginning of your pregnancy is important!
The dossier de maternité can take on different organizational forms. It can be as simple as folding printer paper in half to create folders for each category of documents. As another option, an accordion file folder could be used to sort papers. Personally, I wanted to be able to flip through files and have greater visibility, so I opted for a binder.
Is putting together a French pregnancy binder necessary?
In France, it’s very typical to see a number of health professionals over the course of your pregnancy. Some of the health professionals I’ve seen include a midwife in town (une sage-femme libérale) for monthly consultations, an osteopath (un ostéopathe) for physical therapy and pregnancy discomfort, medical professionals at a lab for bloodwork and urine tests, an ultrasound technician at an imaging center, and a midwife and an anesthesiologist (un anesthésiologiste) at the maternity ward. I did not consult a gynecologist (un gynécologue) although some women might be monitored by one.
The majority of the health professionals I saw operated in distinct medical offices. Pregnancy care in France is not synchronized between health professionals through a platform. There is no digitized sharing of paperwork and medical history. Generally, only the prescribing doctor will be sent the results of any prescribed tests.
Indeed, when I switched to a different midwife a couple of months into my pregnancy, even though these two midwives shared an office space, they operated separately and had no secure way of sending medical files. As a result, I had to establish my medical history with my new midwife and review everything that had been done to date.
Whenever I went to an appointment related to my pregnancy, I brought my binder with me. More often than not, I was asked for a document or specific information. I would have felt stressed rifling through a stack of papers on the spot. With all the tests run on pregnant women, it’s inevitable to forget about specific test results. On the other hand, flipping through my binder was effortless and I was able to efficiently provide them with exactly what they needed.
An organized dossier allows all medical professionals to get on the same page efficiently. Even if you choose to have most of your pregnancy care in one facility (i.e. the maternity hospital), your dossier can come in handy when traveling if you need to seek out care from a team that doesn’t know your medical history. It doesn’t necessarily need to be in the format of a binder, but I do think that it is one of the better systems for getting organized.
How to Organize Your French Pregnancy Binder
Does anyone else get excited about new office supplies?? I only bought three things for this bureaucracy project.
- Binder (classeur à anneaux)
💡 Pro Tip: When shopping for binders in France, you might see two measurements; one indicating the spine width (dos) and the other indicating the diameter of the rings (anneaux). When buying online, read carefully and look for diagrams for clarity!
- Sheet protectors (pochettes transparentes perforées)
- A4 size
- I hesitated before buying plastic sheet protectors and considered just hole punching papers. Many medical professionals will be scanning your documents though and this helps keep them wrinkle-free and neat for the scanner!
- I bought a pack of 100 and ended up using over 50. I did, however, often put single documents in each sheet protector. You could probably buy a smaller pack if you double up on the documents.
- Sheet protectors that open at the top and side allow for easy opening to get documents in and out.
- Binder divider tabs (intercalaires)
- I chose A4 “maxi” plastic divider tabs and used five of them. If you plan on using protector sheets, it’s important to get the maxi-size dividers so that the tabs will be visible.
- Post-it notes could also work to create dividers!
⚡️ This binder option has a space to insert a customizable cover and comes with a pack of six A4 Maxi dividers!
Table of Contents
I organized my pregnancy health documents into five categories. Within each category, I arranged documents in reverse chronological order with the most recent papers first.
- Consultations de suivi
- At the end of every monthly follow-up, I received a printout summary of the consultation. This included my vitals (weight, blood pressure, etc), notes regarding prescriptions, and the date for the next follow-up appointment.
- Prescriptions! You’ll get a million of them. Prescriptions are given for medications, vaccinations and injections, medical devices (like compression stockings), ultrasounds, etc.
- In case you run into any situations where you’re given a feuille de soins after receiving treatment, check out my guide for how to fill out a feuille de soins to get your reimbursement.
- Carte de groupe sanguin / Vaccinations
- Blood type card, vaccination records, printouts received after getting any vaccines during the pregnancy
- Vaccinations I received during the pregnancy: flu shot (vaccination anti-grippale), Covid shot (vaccination contre la Covid-19), and whooping cough (vaccination contre la coqueluche)
- My blood type warrants a special injection during pregnancy which is why I grouped my blood type card with vaccinations and injections.
- Résultats d’analyses sanguines / urinaires
- Results from blood tests and urine tests
- Échographies (comptes rendus)
- In this section, I only included the typed summaries from each ultrasound appointment. I kept the sonogram photos in a separate folder. No one generally needs to see the images.
Did this guide help you? Say thanks with a cup of coffee!
Depending on your needs, here are some other category ideas:
- Paperwork needed to file your admission request at the maternity hospital
- Information about the maternity ward or materials received, like a list of what to bring when you go into labor
- Projet de naissance
- Your birth plan with preferences
- Livrets / Conseils
- You’ll likely receive little booklets or handouts from the government and your midwife or gynecologist. These cover topics such as required appointments, helpful resources, and recommendations on what to avoid eating during pregnancy.
- Communications and paperwork you’ve received from CAF (Caisse des allocations familiales) regarding financial support or CPAM (Caisse primaire d’assurance maladie) regarding health coverage and your pregnancy registration (déclaration de grossesse)
- Crèche / Assistante Maternelle
- Research or materials you’ve put together for childcare options, such as daycare or a childcare minder who only takes on a small number of children
- Perhaps your binder needs an “other” category?
I’ll have you know that I got many compliments on my well-organized pregnancy binder. But it doesn’t need to be anything fancy! How did you organize your medical documents during pregnancy?