Giving birth to a child is an important decision. And giving a birth in another country and especially in Japan, where the language barrier makes thing so much more difficult sometimes, might not be such a great experience for people who do not understand Japanese. The goal of this article is to share the experience of delivering a baby in Japan. I hope it will help many foreign mothers to enjoy their motherhood with less stress.
There are at least 2 places for giving birth in Tsukuba that are frequented by foreign women. They are the Tsukuba University Hospital and Shoji Clinic in Yatabe.
The rules of Tsukuba University Hospital do not allow a husband to be present during the delivery nor to stay with his wife for the night. Shoji clinic is more flexible on this point. For an additional price you can get a room with a second bed, so that the husband can visit his wife any time and also stay with her for the night. He is also allowed to be present during the delivery. Doctors in Tsukuba University Hospital supposedly speak English, but often they can not. Dr. Shoji speaks English well, but to show, for example, the respiration rate during delivery, there are not many words needed anyway.
Both Tsukuba University Hospital and Shoji Clinic provide lessons for pregnant women about future delivery, but in Japanese only.
The important thing is that your expenses on delivering a baby in Japan will be reimbursed (up to 300,000 yen) if you apply for it within 2 weeks after delivery at Sakura City Office. And do not forget to go there as soon as you realize that you will become a mother, because there you can get useful information and also discounts for visiting certain doctors.
Dr. Shoji's wife works as a pediatrician at his clinic, so some mothers continue going there for the consultations after the delivery. Here's some practical information for nursing mothers: What should you do if your milk doesn't come, your baby cries because he or she wants to feed and you are alone at home with nobody to ask? When your breasts become big and hard as stones and you feel a lot of pain, the worse thing you can do for the milk is to put on a cold compress. The pain will go away ... but so will the milk. You should do a breast massage in a hot shower and you should get a fountain of milk in return.
There are also free midwives in Tsukuba, who can come to your place and to help you with nursing problems and to give useful advice. This service is in Japanese, but some of them can speak a little English. You should ask details about this service at Sakura City Office.
Note: In case of medical concerns, it is always good to contact a doctor and even here if you speak English very slowly using lots of body language, you can usually be understood. Likewise, writing things down on paper often helps with comprehension.
Of course it is good to have a Japanese friend who can translate you doctor's words. But even if you do not have one, there are some Japanese volunteers who might be able to help you (you can get their addresses and phone numbers at the Tsukuba Information Center).
What are the usual wishes for moms? Healthy babies, less pain and the courage not to give up!
I want to thank Nataliya Rozhina for her kind cooperation and a lot of useful information for this article. She gave a birth to her son the 11th of July 2004 in Tsukuba. Congratulations!
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