Updated: Sep 13, 2021
Dzhiga, originally from Russia, gave birth to her daughter Diana at the University of Tokyo Hospital.
What were your reasons to pick this hospital? What was important for you? What is special about this hospital?
It was a recommendation from a doctor from Aiiku Hospital to make an infertility check because I had a miscarriage before.
So we went there. Fortunately, the tests showed I’m healthy and after getting pregnant we decided to make pregnancy check ups and giving a birth there because there are English speaking doctors, good NICU department and it’s University.
Was an epidural possible? What about waterbirth? Did they speak English? Do you speak Japanese?
Epidural was scheduled - no waterbirth available. Some doctors, some staff speak English. I know just basic Japanese phrases.
A scheduled epidural means, you can just get an epidural when you have your baby at certain time. Here in Japan, just a few hospitals provide epidural and then some of them require to schedule your due date which means your labor has to be induced. That’s something to think about, if you are in favor to induce your labor.
How far was the ride for you? How early did you book the facility? Did you feel at any point rushed to book a facility?
It’s quite far from my house, around 50 minutes by subway, 30 minutes by car.
Booked the facility only after 22nd weeks of pregnancy. So, no rush.
Were the check-ups always with the same doctor? How was the atmosphere?
Always different doctors. And how I said above, only some doctors speak English.
Long waiting, even if you booked exact time.
Did you feel like there was room for questions?
I got the impression that due to the language barrier, they did not talk in detail about my condition (such as blood test and etc).
Could you give the staff a birth-plan or discuss it with them?
Yes. After booking the facility they give you a book, where some information about delivery, what to bring when labor will come, what to buy for baby (clothes and etc), birth plan, price and etc.
Tell us a little bit how your labor started. At what point did you go to the hospital?
My labor started at 4am 21st of September and until 9pm I had irregular contractions. At 9:30 mucous plug came out. We called to the hospital. They said to come. We called to taxi (in August I booked labor taxi Nihon Kotsu).
How did you get to the hospital? How was the ride?
The taxi arrived in 10 minutes after calling. The ride was good, no traffic. In 30 minutes we were at the hospital.
How long were you in labor? Could you walk around freely? Could you take any position you wanted? How many labor rooms were there? Did they make you lay on the bed when giving birth?
I was in labor around 6 hours.
After arriving a midwife made a check up. I was 6 cm dilated. So they prepared a delivery room for me. During 50 minutes they checked baby’s heartbeat, so I should lay on the back. After I could walk around freely, but I didn’t want. I just wanted to change position. But after changing baby’s heartbeat showed that she gets less oxygen, so midwife said I should lay and only on the back.
I saw 3 labor rooms, but maybe more. I was only in giving a birth room.
What rooms (private /common) were available there? Could your husband be there with you? Are husbands allowed to stay overnight?
Private and common were available. Husbands are not allowed to stay overnight even before COVID-19, how I remember.
But they allowed to him join my labor and giving a birth.
What happened when your baby was born? Was kangaroo-care allowed?
When did you breastfeed the first time? How important was breastfeeding for you? Did they help you with breastfeeding?
Kangaroo-care and breastfeeding were in my birth plan, but they allowed me to do that only after 1 hour after baby was born. Yes, they helped.
How long did you stay in the hospital? How was the care? Could you room in with your baby?
5 days. Excellent care. They helped me with everything. Especially one midwife who speaks English very well and she was my midwife during childbirth. Sometimes she was working in nursery room, I could ask all questions to her. She wrote me a letter where she says, I inspired her to learn even more English to help such brave foreign women who give birth in another country like me. I’m happy to do some small contribution to making it easier for foreign women to give birth in Japan.
Yes, Diana were always with me, except first night.
How long did you have to stay in the hospital? How was the food? How much did you end up paying?
If natural delivery - 5 days. If c-section- 7 days, how I know.
The food was sooo good. After coming back to home I was missing the food so much! Haha
Total amount were around 550.000 yen plus 420.000 Japan pays.
How do your friends in Russia experience child birth? What are some differences you noticed ?
I heard about different experiences. But what I can say with confidence, in Japan the hospital staff is much more nice and caring.
What was the hardest part for you during your pregnancy / labor? What would you recommend other pregnant women in Japan?
During pregnancy- I would say the hardest part was first trimester. I was much less active, always wanted to sleep and didn’t want to eat.
During labor - Language barrier. It took time to understand each other. And how you know, during giving a birth seconds are important.
Advice. Study Japanese. Some basic vocabulary. It will be easier to stay in a hospital even if there can speak English (not all staff speak English)
Dzhiga is from Kalmykia which is a region located in southern Russia, not far from the Caspian Sea.