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Info and Courses in English

Japan With Kids - Forums: Health Topics: Pregnancy/Birth/Childrearing: Info and Courses in English
By Caroline G. Gutierrez on Wednesday, August 18, 1999 - 3:11 pm:

Could anyone suggest a reliable and affordable prenatal class in English in Tokyo... I am expecting in November and my husband will be present at delivery. In order to be well prepared we would like to follow a class preferably in our area (Musashino-shi) or anywhere in Tokyo. Any advice welcome. Thanks!

By m&j on Sunday, September 19, 1999 - 10:18 am:

I understand that the Tokyo American Club run a prenatal course in English. It is located in Azabu. Most of the activities are restricted to members only, but some are open to the general public.
Give them a call or have a look at

By Emi on Friday, October 1, 1999 - 10:25 pm:

I found this in the Tokyo Journal Online Classifieds:

Childbirth Education Center offers classes and counseling for new and expectant parents. Call/fax Kalli Matsuhashi (048-267-4634) or Brett Iimura (3414-7458)

By Cornelia on Wednesday, March 15, 2000 - 2:56 pm:

Found in old email archives:

BEST - Birth Education Services offers ongoing birth education classes for the community. All classes are taught in English by experienced and educated instructors. Our next session begins at the end of January and includes classes for everyone. If you are interested in our services or need information about birthing in Tokyo give us a call at 03-3478-0733.

By Dewi on Saturday, December 2, 2000 - 4:01 pm:

Does anyone know of any pre-natal course or one-off sessions that will be held in Tokyo this December? I'm due to give birth Feb 18th, and will actually be going back to Australia on Jan 8th for the birth, and then returning to Tokyo. Am feeling anxious about not being prepared.

Hope to hear from someone.

By Betty on Wednesday, January 9, 2002 - 6:34 am:

You can get a lot of important (and entertaining) information from books and off the web. For starters here are a couple of sites:
One of the highlights: Create your very own customizable pregnancy calendar!
Just plug in the first day of your last period, and all the months will be displayed for you. The calendar has many links of information from all over the world wide web.

Another calendar:

The e-mail lists back "home" are also invaluable places to share information in English. There are some differences in approach to birthing that you will not learn about there though. For one thing the length of the pregnancy in Japan is counted differently than in the America and Europe. In Japan a woman is counted as pregnant for 10 months instead of 9. I don't precisely remember the explanation for how this is possible. (Does anyone else remember?)

There is a huge reluctance to assist births with any sort of pain killers. Only emergency births (such as C-sections) get treated as a "medical" condition (and are consequently fully re-imbursed by the National Health Insurance). Normal birth is considered non-medical. This is upon careful thought logical. But it is not easy for a lot of us to swallow, since the atmosphere in which we have grown up thinks of giving birth in a different way.

Unfortunately the extension of "non-medical" sometimes leads to practices that are well, unkind to the mothers. It is still possible to be treated basically as a breeding animal in some birth clinics and by some doctors in Japan. Your pain is irrelevant, only the healthy birth of the baby is important. This is not unique to Japan, and it certainly does not prevail all over Japan now. But it happens. If you want to avoid a bad experience, the best thing is to make an effort to avoid one beforehand. Which means doing some leg-work and some research. Not all teachers or lawyers are especially good at what they do, and the same goes for doctors and mid-wives. The problem is that it is hard to get accurate recommendations from Japanese women, because they tend to have lower expectations and tend to refrain from criticizing doctors and mid-wives. And any woman that has only given birth once doesn't have much to compare her experience to!

The Tokyo Pregnancy Group offers an off-line support network for mothers living within reasonable distance of the Minato and Setagaya wards "ex-pat corridor".

For mothers further out, there isn't much support off-line in English. The best thing is to try to network with other native English speaking mothers in your area. They may be hard to find but anyone who has given birth in Japan will have a story to tell. There are significant populations of native English speaking mothers in Osaka, Kobe, Hokkaido, in fact, probably all the bigger urban centers. I wonder if any of them read these forums and have anything to tell us?

There is a ton of support in Japanese if you can find a decent translator to go with you. The city governments all run programs either directly or through the health offices. There are also a variety of birth options, especially in the big cities (water birth, tatami-mat birth, spouse or good friend present, etc.). The options that are very hard to find are those calling for chemical pain control (i.e. epidural).

By Therese Djärv on Wednesday, January 29, 2003 - 3:00 am:


We are three swedish women who study to become a medical doctor. In may this year (2003) we will do a comparing study between Sweden and Japan on pregnancy, birth and post-birth care for children. we would like to come in contact with pediatrics, child-doctors, hospital, women who are going to have a baby or recentrly have got one.
We are intrested in all experiances.
Please contact us!
Therese, Mirjam, Ylva

By julie b. on Tuesday, August 3, 2004 - 7:49 pm:


I m 15 weeks pregnant and I ll go soon to the meeting of tokyo pregnancy group....
I was just wondering if one of you is actually going to those meetings....?
you could tip me about how many women meet there, what kind of healthy food should I bring...any women from France, or any women at their 15thweek of pregnancy?


By Jellund on Tuesday, August 3, 2004 - 9:08 pm:

Dear Julie,

Congratulations on your pregnancy! :) I went to the pregnancy group last year from around 12 weeks pregnant. There were usually between 12 and 20 women there, from all countries, I am still good friends with a French woman I met there. The food selection there was excellent, I usually took some biscuits or fruit or sometimes cheese and crackers, there was always far too much but everyone enjoyed it. I think some people brought juices too. At this time of year fresh summer fruit would be nice.

Good luck, it is a very friendly group, I am sure you will have a good time.

By Erin Siddall on Thursday, August 5, 2004 - 8:55 am:

Childbirth classes?
I just reviewed the posts here and would like to mention that the Best classes are not running anymore, and I have not been called back by the Childbirth Education center after leaving 4 messages.

I was wondering if anyone has given birth in the last six months and could reccommend current classes that were maybe provided by their hospital or ward. Japanese is okay, but I am really hoping to join a class which teaches breathing techniques for natural labour, and one in which the father can join.

My hospital only offers classes to the mothers and the ward office has been similarily unhelpful. My husband wants to come too!

Thanks in advace, Erin

By Brett Iimura on Friday, August 6, 2004 - 10:21 am:

Several people have kindly let me know that there seems to be some old contact information for Childbirth Education Center (CEC) still floating around out there in cyberspace. I apologize for any inconvenience or confusion this may have caused.

Our contact number is 03-3414-7458. You can also check out our website, and contact us via email on the site.

We run Birth Preparation classes every month as well as offer a Baby Basics class, a Refresher class, and a Choosing a Caregiver class among other services. Over 800 couples from all over the world have taken our classes since our inception in 1997. All classes are taught in English by a Certified Childbirth Educator who has personal experience giving birth in Japan. Japanese language fluency and the long standing relationships with an extensive network of doctors, midwives, and allied health professionals throughout Japan allows CEC to keep its finger on the pulse of changes in the system as a whole as well as with individual caregivers and their practices. We are then able to pass that information on to you.
I hope this is helpful.
Brett Iimura, ICCE

By Erin Siddall on Friday, August 6, 2004 - 12:18 pm:

Thank you very much Brett for your response about this!! I will be in contact.

By Julie Osborn on Thursday, October 21, 2004 - 3:35 pm:

Jan. and Feb. moms-to-be:
Are you looking for a couples' natural childbirth class? My name is Julie Osborn, and I teach Bradley method, also known as husband-coached childbirth in my home in Shibuya ward. My classes:
- are small, for individual attention
- include 12 units of instruction with review sessions until birth
- teach both of you relaxation, physiology, nutrition and parenting skills
- emphasize good coaching techniques for handling the stress or hard work of labor and birth
- advise you on how to be an intelligent consumer of obstetric services, emphasizing positive communication with your birth attendants.

On a personal note, thanks to the Bradley classes my husband and I took, I delivered all 3 of my children with confidence and joy. My son, the youngest, was born here in Tokyo in February 2003.

To find out more about Bradley in general, please see the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth website at For more information on classes here, please email yourbirthintokyo[at]
or call me, Julie Osborn 03-3465-3645.
Thanks and happy gestating!

By Tayiba on Friday, January 6, 2006 - 6:44 pm:

Hi! I'm looking for an antenatal class which is run in English. Please let me know if you can recommend anything. Thanks

By Sandy on Friday, September 23, 2011 - 7:49 pm:

Childbirth Education Center (Brett Iimura)
is still going strong, located in Tokyo.

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