Giving Birth to Baby in China – What Expats Need to Know?

Many Expats in China who are expecting a baby prefer to have childbirth in an international hospital, as many of their staff are fluent in English and have an international understanding of Western practices. Many doctors have international experience or are foreign doctors. Comfort of language and a similar-to-home-country experience really go a long way when having a baby in China. Though these hospitals are more expensive then local ones, expats who are covered by insurance can often pay for most if not all of the expenses.

Expenses and facilities

Expatriates who have a functional usage of Chinese also enjoy the option of choosing between public and private hospitals to have a baby in China. Private hospitals maintain a high level of hygiene and care for mothers and infants. That being said, public hospitals have different levels of care and accomadation for foreigners. For many expats in China, regardless of language ability, having a baby in a public hospital might be the only real solution because of cost or because of high-risk conditions. Depending on the prenatal care and childbirth conditions, local China hospitals charge between RMB 8000 to RMB 50000 for delivery and stay. The vast difference between these charges is due to the type of ward selected and the type of delivery conducted depending on the situation, such as birth by cesarean.

Expatriates can also choose to have their babies in international hospitals, which are known to maintain excellent and comfortable facilities. These, however, have hefty charges for prenatal care between RMB 18000 to RMB 23000 and around RMB 45000 to RMB 63000 depending on facilities used and the conditions during delivery. Many international hospitals are not equipped to to handle emergency situations or high-risk pregnancies. However, they can still be a great resource in helping connect you to the right hospital. Often times, the international hospital will have a partnership with a local hospital to refer to in case such an occasion arises and may even accompany you through emergency situation.

Regardless of where you choose to have your baby in China, be sure to check out our Hospital Listings page to learn more about specific options in your city.

Culture – What’s expected from you?

Being a traditional society, pregnant women are expected to follow several customs if they are local, though expats wouldn’t necessarily need to follow them. China pregnancy customs dictate that women have to read good literature and avoid gossip and attending funerals during pregnancy. They should also eat healthy food and take all precautions to ward of evil spirits from harming the unborn baby.

According to Chinese birthing custom, new mothers are expected to remain at home for a month after delivery and are cared for by their family members with plenty of food to enable quick recovery from blood loss during delivery. New mothers have to stay as warm as possible and should not eat raw or cold food to avoid health problems.

Though earlier China hospitals supported natural childbirth, in recent years both government and private hospitals have seen increasing number of Cesarean cases which leads to escalation of costs during childbirth.

The best part about having a baby in China is the immense love and affection you get from everyone around even if they are not family members. As an expatriate if you lack relatives in China you can either hire a maid to care for you and the baby or check into a post-birth hotel after delivery for a month.


Public or Private?

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Does hospital direct-bill insurance companies?

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Founders of havingababyinchina.com, Jeremy and Jacquelyn have four children. The first three were born in three different hospitals in China and the last was born at home in the US. Jeremy and Jacquelyn created havingababyinchina.com in 2009 after they found little information for foreigners having babies in China. They love connecting with other foreigners having babies. Learn more about them on the about page.

4 comments on “Giving Birth to Baby in China – What Expats Need to Know?
  1. Avatar Joel says:

    If both parents aren’t Chinese, Will a newborn get the Chinese citizenship?

    • Avatar Jeremy & Jacquelyn Carman says:

      A child born in China to foreign parents is not given Chinese citizenship. The parents will have to apply for citizenship to their home country.

  2. Avatar Natalia says:

    I would not say there are good emergency facilities in international or private hospitals in China, in case of an emergency they will rush you to the public one

    • Avatar Jeremy & Jacquelyn Carman says:

      I agree, Natalia! I’ve updated this article to address that idea as well as some other clarifications. Thanks for the comment!

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