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  • Vicky

Pregnancy in Japan

Updated: Apr 17, 2021

Register your pregnancy

When you pregnancy is confirmed by the doctor you register at your local city hall / ward office. You will receive a Maternity and Child Health Book, a Coupon Book and a Maternity Badge which you can use for your back bag / purse.

  • Maternity and Child Health Book to keep track of all they our information during pregnancy: vaccination, blood pressure, your weight

    • In this same book the health data of your child will also be tracked - also the future examination of your child up to three years


  • Coupon Book

    • Will give you 50% discount coupons for all your examination at the hospital

    • At the birth center, you will not be able to use the coupons but pay full price; although the check-up price at a birth center is often lower than in a hospital, as they do not do a baby echo - after labor you can get a refund at the city hall (just in case when you are at a birth center)

    • For the different prices of each check-up, I will upload a price list (to come); this will be from Kinoshita

    • In general, prices / examinations might slightly differ from hospital to hospital


  • Badge

    • Each ward office hands out a badge you can use, in order to make your surrounding environment sensitive for your pregnancy

    • In trains you can pick priority seats or maybe people who smoke, are motivated to avoid smoking near to you


Once you found your hospital where you want to give birth, the midwives will explain to you the routine at every check-up and they will hand out to your personal hospital card. For all visits, you then will give your hospital card to the reception including the health insurance card and your coupon book. They will hand you a folder with a few papers for the doctor, your hospital card. Equipped with that, you can start the check-up routine yourself:

  • Measure your blood pressure

  • Measure your weight

  • Turn in a sample of your urine

  • The blood pressure machine usually prints a little ticket where you put your name and note your weight

  • Put these information in the folder and reach out to a midwife




Food / Vitamines / Supplement

All in all, I was in three different hospitals and one birth center during my pregnancy in Tokio and in NONE I was told to take supplements - which surprised me.

When I especially asked for it, I was told that if I want to, I can take elevit, which I also know from Germany and which was recommended by my German doctor during the beginning of my pregnancy. I got the impression that in Japan it’s a general belief that all the vitamins you need during your pregnancy can be absorbed by the food you eat.






At the birth center they even told me I should not take supplements but I should be very careful what I eat:

  • no milk products (like milk, yogurt, cheese)

  • no wheat products (pasta, bread)

  • no sweets

  • not too many fruits because of the sugar

  • instead a lot of vegetables, soups and tofu

At all the hospitals, food was never a topic. At the beginning, we always asked about it and I was told several times that I can eat what I want to: also all the cheese (!), whereas in Germany it is recommended not to eat dairy products that I are made from unpasteurized milk. The most surprising for us was that I could also continue to eat raw fish Sushi. Same goes go for fruits and vegetables in the restaurants: as I do not have the immunity to toxoplasmosis I was recommended in Germany not to eat fruits and vegetables in restaurants because you can never be sure how properly those ingredients were washed.

Apparently, the hygienic standards in Japan are that high that pregnant women do not have to worry about it.

Gaining weight during pregnancy in Japan: Japan is known for its healthy food and where ever I look around, people - no matter what age - are almost all very thin.

Maybe that's why the normal and recommended weight gain during pregnancy in Japan is around 7-10 kg. I know from other countries like the US and Germany the average is definitely a lot more. When I was 8 months pregnant in Japan, I gained 7 kg and in my 9th month I even lost a kg. I weigh 6 kg (baby's weight is 2600g).

My family back home in Germany started to be worried about my small weight gain while the doctor in Japan did not even raise the topic. When I asked the doctors, they confirmed that everything is fine. The baby's development is normal (even western weight and hight), so I don’t need to be worried.


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