For expats living in China, being pregnant can bring up a whole range of anxieties and issues that they might not even fret about in their home countries. Such anxieties come with living in a country with strong traditions, unfamiliarity with local language and customs, and lacking a support system. However, if expectant parents do a bit of planning and organizing, then having a baby in China can be an enjoyable experience.
You can take up the following simple steps to ensure a healthy pregnancy and delivery in China.
- If you are having a baby in China, the first step to take is to consult a doctor. For this, you have many options in the country. One option is to go to a hospital that has a doctor trained in China. He or she will most likely adhere to the local pregnancy treatments and delivery systems to the region, but this doesn’t mean that the medical professional is not trained in dealing with foreigners. Nowadays, many doctors who have studied and practiced in the West now work in China hospitals and can perfectly understand the anxieties of expecting foreigners.
- In China, hospitals are equipped with state of the art machines and facilities to conduct ultrasounds and other medical needs for pregnant women. So no worries here.
- In China, birthing customs differ from those of the west. So be sure to peruse this site to become aware of these local customs and to know what to do and what to avoid. As a quick example, most Chinese hospitals do not allow men to be in the delivery room, as delivery rooms might have more than one person giving birth.
- In many of the larger cities, there are hospitals and clinics that will even accept medical insurance. However, if you decide on a more local hospital, the chances or this are slim. Some insurance companies will work with you, however, and might accept the receipts and reimburse you for your expenditures. In this case, be sure to keep an accurate folder of official receipts or “发票fa piao”.
- Special VIP care is often available for those that can afford it, so be sure to research the different pricing options available at your hospital of choice before the birth of your child.
Don’t just stop with prenatal planning. Be sure to consider postnatal as well. Do this before you going into labor you can have fewer things to worry about.
- The stay and visitation in China hospital rooms are slightly different than that foreigners might be used to. For example, you may have to ask for a separate bed for your spouse to stay in the room with you. You might also need to arrange for your own food. Food might not be delivered to the rooms. This goes for basic amenities, as well. Unless you’re going to a Western style hospital, you will likely need to bring your own diapers and clothes and blankets. Find out in advance what the hospital will provide after the birth and what you will need to arrange yourself.
- The hospital will either issue a birth certificate to you, or give you the documentation and location to acquire the birth certificate on your own. If the later is true and you cannot speak Chinese well, you might also consider bringing a translator to assist you. Be sure to bring your passports with you.
- One of the first things you will need to do after receiving the birth certificate is to get a passport and visa for your baby. It is advised that you do this as soon as possible to avoid any travel plan delays or fees from China for not having a visa for the child. This process can take several days to weeks to complete.
- As in the West, many vaccinations are given to newborn babies immediately after the birth. However, the schedule varies slightly in China. Check out our vaccination schedule for the full details. If you do not want your child to receive vaccinations, or wish to get them elsewhere, be sure to make this known before, during and after the birth.