The president of Rome\’s Lazio region has signed a decree to pay €800 to mothers who choose to give birth at home, rather than go to hospital, Italian media reported on Sunday.
Nicola Zingaretti signed the administrative order setting the figure during the past few days, La Repubblica reported.
The new decree paves the way for families in Lazio to receive a €800 reimbursement for a home birth, although not without certain criteria being met.
Mothers can only benefit from the deal with a gynecologist’s not stating that she will be able to give birth without the risk of complications, La Repubblica said.
The idea to reward women who choose to give birth at home, rather than take up a hospital bed, was first proposed in 2011. But without a fixed sum the measure proved ineffective, the newspaper reported.
Lazio authorities have received just ten requests for the reimbursement in recent months, although this figure could jump now that the figure has been established.
The move should ease the pressure on the region’s maternity wards, at a time when hospitals across Italy are readying themselves for budget cuts.
Last month a draft document proposed slashing the national health budget by €868 million this year and €1.5 billion in 2015, as Prime Minister Matteo Renzi grapples to reduce Italy’s budget deficit, ANSA news agency reported at the time.
Recent figures show that there were 534,186 births in Italy in 2012, a drop of 12,000 on the previous year. The number of babies born to foreign parents in the country is however on the rise, with 80,000 recorded in 2012.