(Closed) Would you have a baby in a foreign country? Advice pls!

posted 4 years ago in TTC
Post # 16
Member
7897 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

The medical cost insurance logistics might end up deciding it for you. I realized you’re based in Singapore, which makes Japan a lot closer than I previously pictured! Japan is a pretty advanced country. The medical care is probably good, but there will still be some differences. Especially since it will be your first baby, I think I’d want to be on home soil if I could in case it was a complicated pregnancy or in case the culture adjustment was more than expected. 

Post # 17
Member
1745 posts
Bumble bee

I’m not sure what you were hoping for regarding either a medicated/epidural type birth or an unmedicated type birth.  I also don’t know what the the birth culture is in Japan.  It may match your preferences, or it may not.  If it doesn’t, and you aren’t fluent in the language, you may not have the birth experience you’d prefer.   That may be really important to you – or not. 

Also, how does Japan handle translators.  Is one provided?  Do you provide/pay for one yourself?  I can’t think of much I’d like less than needing any kind of medical care and not being able to communicate potentially subtle information to the caregivers. 

Post # 18
Member
1122 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

View original reply
KinkyOrange:  most people don’t speak english there.  

Post # 19
Member
70 posts
Worker bee

You two should be fine. With any country, you can always find dual language speaking doctors and especially in developed Asian countries.

And if he’s going for schooling in Japan, you should both get health insurance through the school regardless of whether you two choose to ttc. That will help lead you to English speaking OBs and they will help guide you through pregnancy and delivery.

We’re korean/chinese so I feel you on that way of thinking. It’s the same in Japan too which is why they can help you through the process of delivery in a way that coincides with our culture’s way of birth and post-delivery care.

My cousin ended up needing an appendectomy while on vacation in Japan from Korea. She told me that they did a great job and she couldn’t see a single scar on her body. Haha bc of course so many women are more concerned with the scarring than the health risk. That was 10 years ago! They did it the same way that was preferred by Korean doctors during that time vs the US (no scarring but the US has opted to now more commonly adopt that practice.)

I hope that helps and you should really get the health insurance before you even move to Japan. If you do so, it’ll be easier to make a list of doctors you wish to interview to find an OB that suits your needs.

Post # 20
Member
9016 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper

I haven’t had a baby anywhere let alone in a foreign country but I have had medical care/operations in a country where English is not the first language and where outside of tourist spots practically unheard of. The first time it was really really disconcerting (during an initial examination) because whilst the doctor spoke good english his support staff did not so everything was in thai. It was strange and frightening to not know what was going on especially since it was an emergency situation. But at the end when the doctor had a diagnosis etc everything was explained in english. It gave me confidence in that doctor and the hospital to carry on with treatment. If that hadn’t happened I don’t know how I would feel.

I have had quite a few medical treatments in Thailand now and whilst there is still the feeling of not knowing what is happening at times it is always explained at some point. You just have to research and pick good hospitals and trust. 

I wouldn’t let a language barrier stop me from having a baby in a foreign country with a good healthcare system. But for your husband it sounds like more of a cultural barrier given that there are certain cultural norms around birth that he would like to follow. Maybe investigate if there is an ex-pat Chinese community in Japan. My parents worked all around the world when I was a child and even in third world countries there were strong and supportive ex-pat communities.

Post # 21
Member
7977 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2013 - UK

View original reply
Washingtonian:  That isn’t my experience, but maybe it depends on the location (?)

OP, a PP says you are based in Singapore? In that case, would it be possible to simply fly back home prior to delivery and have the baby there? You would be away from your husband, but if observing a confinement period is important to him then maybe he would prefer it. It’s not as if it’s a hugely long distance flight, after all. I was imagining you would be on the other side of the world, or something!

Post # 22
Member
2339 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2015

If I could pick where to have a baby it would probably be France! I wouldn’t fancy the U.S. or Brazil or third world countries. Japan sounds very safe but I’d research their maternity culture to see if it’s a good fit with your hopes and expectations. 

Post # 23
Member
543 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: December 2014 - Maui

I live in Japan and my husband is Japanese, so I’m planning on having kids here. There are some cultural differences with the west, but if you are also Asian you might have similar practices. For example:

The confinement period you mentioned is a custom here, too. Most women go back to their hometown to give birth so their mother can help them.

Doctors are strict about weight gain and only recommend a maximum 10 kg (22 lbs) weight gain during pregnancy.

It’s controversial in the west, but eating sushi or other raw food, like raw eggs, is considered safe here. 

Epidurals are not widely available. If you want one, you need to schedule an induced labor during regular business hours so that the anethesiologist is available. Most births are natural and assisted by midwives.

Having an episiotomy is the norm.

Elective c-sections aren’t available. They are only available in emergency cases, like breech birth.

Hospital stay is about one week. 

Everyone must be enrolled in national health insurance. This will cover most of the costs related to having a baby. There are also subsidized day care centers and paid childcare leave. I have known a few American couples teaching English here who planned on having their baby here because it’s much cheaper than in America.

Japan has a lower infant mortality rate than the US.

Most doctors can speak some English here, but not all are fluent. Volunteer interpreters are available for free, I think.

Overall, it’s not a bad place to have a baby. I’d personally rather give birth here than in my home country, the US.

Post # 24
Member
1493 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: January 2012

Relatives have had two babies in Indonesia. It cost them like $300 each baby and they had care well above and beyond a USA pregnancy. They had English speaking doctors ( although they can speak Indonesian) and went to an amazing hospital that was way nicer then mine in the USA. I think you need to research how much it will cost you, what hospital and doctor options you can get, and then make your decision.

Post # 25
Member
887 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

There’s a blogger called “breastfeeding without BS” who I’m pretty sure is American and had a baby in Japan. (Birthed during the Fukushima crisis no less!!! D:). You might look her blog up or even contact her to get an idea of what her experience was. 

Post # 26
Member
1122 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

View original reply
KinkyOrange:  I was in Tokyo for 11 nights and no one offered us directions on the street bc of their English. The retailers and servers were hard to communicate with. Just my experience. 

Post # 28
Member
197 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: August 2015

View original reply
theatrejulia: you don’t just get duAl citizenship. It entirely depends on the country whether or not that is an option. Additionally the parents chitin ship might not allow another. Not sure if the OP has Chinese or US citizensh or both

Post # 29
Member
207 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2015

I just got back from honeymoon in Japan- my experience was that English isn’t widely spoken at all, but that the people are incredibly friendly and helpful despite this. I wasn’t feeling well and we were looking lost trying to find a pharmacy one day, and a lady randomly asked in broken English if she could help us. She took us to a pharmacy and via google translate found out what we needed, and then the pharmacist got an English speaking doctor on the phone who spoke to me and confirmed that they’d understood correctly. In the end there were five or six women involved, no idea who they all were, having a chat with us over google translate. It was great. This was one of about 5 or 6 different experiences where people offered to help us without us asking.

I don’t think it will be without challenges, but you sound like the sort of person who would manage it… I’d say go for it 😉

Post # 30
Member
207 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2015

Oh and I definitely second the suggestion of finding some expats with experience in this. You would probably be able to find quite a lot of support in the expat community.

The topic ‘Would you have a baby in a foreign country? Advice pls!’ is closed to new replies.

Find Amazing Vendors