Healthy Pregnancies in China

Are you an expat living in China? Are you expecting, but worried about having a baby in China? With the right information, you can expect to have a healthy pregnancy even while being away from home.

Today many hospitals and facilities in China for both pre and postnatal care are on par with the countries in the West. This is especially true for big cities like Shanghai and Beijing. The smaller city’s hospitals will certainly look and feel different from that of the West, but offer many services available in the bigger cities.

Hospitals in China

  • Women living in 1st tier cities and some 2nd tier cities in China have the option of delivery either in a Western-style hospital or a Chinese hospital. Western-style hospitals mostly have doctors who are educated in the West, can speak fluent English, understand concerns of expats, and will administer painkillers and other medicines as practiced in the West.
  • Cities without a Western-Style hospital often have private hospitals that are quite advanced in education and technology. Usually, getting service in English is difficult. You might want to consider finding a translator. Women living in a city without the option of a Western-style hospital will often opt to temporarily move to a larger city before the birth.
  • As with many places in the world, hospitals in China are reporting more cases of cesarean births. Be very clear with your doctor if you prefer to opt for natural birth unless there is a complication requiring you to have a C-section. You might find that some hospitals insist on scheduling a C-section even at the beginning of your pregnancy. If such is the case, keep searching for a hospital that would be willing to accommodate you. Having a person who can not only translate for you, but also advocate for you is a key factor here. It may take visiting several different hospitals before you find one that will work with you.

Prenatal Care

  • Routine examinations and ultrasounds are available in all hospitals.
  • In terms of a pregnancy diet plan, foreigners might have a bit of difficulty as Chinese medical professionals offer a mix of traditional Chinese food and normal everyday food. They do it to balance the Qi in the mother’s body for the optimum growth of the baby. If you are not comfortable with traditional Chinese foods, you can simply follow your diet with added nutrients.
  • Chinese women will often opt for traditional Chinese practices such as acupuncture and acupressure to alleviate pregnancy symptoms such as morning sickness, swollen feet and backache. These are considered safe practices, which are also offered in the West. Living in China, you get the benefit of these procedures in a more traditional setting. However, just be sure to research the places offering these services that they are trusted sanitary.
  • Chinese medicines offer many concoctions, teas, soups and syrups for pregnant women. Medicines for safe and easy labor and postpartum care are also available. Discuss with the doctor to see if this option works for you.
*Image courtesy of photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


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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.

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