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Having a Baby in Korea - Giving Birth

Having a Baby in Korea - G...

The following information on childbirth has been compiled through conversations with expat parents of many nationalities who have had at least one child in Korea.

1) At the Hospital
- Birthing pools are available for labor and delivery (except for placental delivery) in some hospitals, including Soonchunghyang Hospital (Hannam-dong)
- Episiotomies are still commonly performed in Korea. If you don’t want this procedure, you may have to push hard to convince the doctor to adhere to your wishes. Advice given from women is to push to not have one if you can.
- A high percentage of deliveries are by Caesarean section.
- At some hospitals they keep the baby in the nursery for the first 24 hours. Discuss this with your physician. If you have a private room, the baby can room in but this takes discussion with the physician prior to delivery.

Vaginal Delivery: around W7,088,000 (includes pregnancy care)
C-section: around W10,960,000
* This information is based on the respondents’ experiences and on private hospital experiences, and can vary up and own from one hospital to another. If you have National Health Insurance, the costs will be lower.

2) Cultural Differences (note that the similarities, of which there are many, are not included).
- Sanitary practices and privacy are different than may be expected from Western hospitals. There is often very little privacy, even in the higher end private hospitals. (For more information on hospitals in Korea, click here.)
- Medical professionals are not used to taking instructions from the ‘patient’. It is not normal practice here to explain what is going to happen or to answer questions.
- In Korea, fathers have not traditionally been present during delivery. If you don’t want to follow that practice, you may have to make your wishes know, although some physicians and hospitals, who have experience with foreign parents-to-be, will assume that the father will be there.
- Korean births are not always in a private room. They are, however, available if you are willing to pay extra. You’ll want to let your doctor know in advance, but may have to repeat the request near your deliver date and maybe even at the hospital. That said, many physicians/hospitals assume that foreign patients want a private room, so if that’s not what you want, you’ll want to say so.
- It is common in Korean culture for women to restrict their movements for two weeks after the delivery. Some go to ‘maternity hotels’ after they are discharged from the hospital to be taken care of for one or two more months. (The new mom’ mother used to take care of her daughter for a few months after the birth).
- Traditionally, new mothers ate a lot of seaweed soup and this may be served to you while you’re in the hospital.

3) Advice from the Moms
- You may need to be assertive and firm (not necessarily aggressive) to ensure that your needs and desires are heard and met. If not, medical staff  (including English-speaking physicians) are going to follow their standard operating procedures, which may not be what you want. (for example episiotomies or C-section deliveries).
- You may need to periodically remind yourself that the medical staff is used to doing things in a certain way and that they are not trying to give you a hard time.

4) Stuff to Get Before Going to the Hospital
In Korean hospitals, you have to bring
i) - your own towels (at most there is a small hand towel in the bathroom).
ii) - you might have to bring your own soap! (Toilet paper is provided).
iii) - before delivering, you're given a list of items to pick up at the pharmacy across the street. This list includes sanitary pads, as well as the big pads that go on the hospital bed while you are delivering.

Blog for Moms: 
Some expat women have created a blog for moms. To get on the blog contact: expatmomsclub@gmail.com.

K4E Editor: We try to make the information on Korea4Expats.com as complete and accurate as possible, so if you notice any errors or omissions in the content above, please let us know at info@korea4expats.com.

Last Updated on 2016-10-22

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