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Japan With Kids - Forums: Health Topics: Pregnancy/Birth/Childrearing

By Parent-to-be on Wednesday, December 8, 1999 - 4:48 am:

Not yet pregnant but working on it!!
Thought it best to get some advice from those 'in the know', thus this ad.
Planning a family and would appreciate email re. any subject from best doctors (gynaecologists), hospitals/birth clinics to organizations and childcare (specifically Yokohama area).
Also anyone out there know of associations that are specific to mixed race families/children?.
I am very interested in the social and cultural issues that arise from trying to bring up a child that has parents from Western and Japanese backgrounds.
If you have time drop me a line. All advice greatly appreciated.

By Joanna on Friday, January 28, 2000 - 11:31 pm:

My husband is Japanese, and I am American. I have a 5 year-old from a previous relationship, and now my husband and I are expecting our first child.

It is always hard to tell if certain issues stem from the individual, or the individualís cultural background. This is always a struggle for me. I always ask, ďis it because you are Japanese?ĀE

So far, one big difference I have seen is that my husband absolutely refuses to be at the birth. He believes that it is not a manís place to be there. He is actually a very non-traditional Japanese man in that he does his fair share (sometimes more) of cooking and cleaning. However, he states that most Japanese men are not present at their childrenís births.

I don't know if this is actually the case or not, since I can only rely on his opinion.

By Anonymous on Thursday, February 3, 2000 - 8:09 pm:

Dear Joanna,

Hi! My husband is also Japanese, and he attended the birth, helped out with the housework, he liked to cook, care of the baby on weekends, and really did a lot for me. A couple months ago he seemed depressed and wouldn't tell me why. He told his Mother:
she told me;
he didn't want to help out anymore.

So, be careful, Joanna. I thought that he was a very non-traditional Japanese man myself. He even told me that he wasn't, but after a year of childcare, he realised that he was.
As for standing in during labor and delivery, many hospitals do not offer the option since it's not the Japanese thing to do. A friend was separated from her husband at admissions, and he was called to the waiting room only when the birth was imminent.
Good Luck!

By Shawn J. Newell on Friday, February 4, 2000 - 12:53 pm:

Hi Everyone!

Can anyone provide me with information on hospitals in Tokyo that DO allow husbands to stand-in during delivery?? It is very important for me to be able to be with my wife during delivery. We currently go to Showa University Hospital in Hatanodai, Ota-ku, but they don't allow it.

I understand that it isn't the "Japanese thing to do", but that excuse wears thin on us. We tend to believe it's the "Human thing to do"! Anyway, any kind of help would be greatlt appreciated. Thanks in advance.

By Shawn J. Newell on Sunday, February 6, 2000 - 5:26 pm:

Hi Again,

Nevermind about my last message. We have decided to seek a Midwife to help in our delivery. Thank anyone who considered replying for your thoughts.

I hope that all of you having babies in Tokyo and anywhere else are able to be as much a part of the whole amazing process as you can. Peace and love to you all!!

By Kalli Matsuhashi on Wednesday, March 1, 2000 - 3:05 pm:

Dear Joanna,

I would agree that it is difficult to tell whether your husband's thinking stems from culture or his personality, etc. But it is true that Japanese men have traditionally not been a part of the birth experience. It is really only in the last 10-15 years in Japan that some Japanese men have taken an interest in being with their partners at birth. As you probably know, there are many, many hospitals in Japan that still do not allow the husband to be present during the labor. Most likely this practice stems from the fact that traditionally, birth in Japan (and around the world, for that matter) involved only women, as it deals with such a physically intimate event in a woman's life.

I would suggest that you discuss the expectations each of you holds and why (although the why part can be difficult to get at), and then try to come to a mutual agreement about what his role should be. If it is difficult to accept that he does not want to be there, but you want support during the experience of birth, perhaps you could consider having someone attend the birth with you for that purpose.

Participation (or lack thereof) in the birth is not necessarily related to the level of involvement in parenting. But this is another area where discussion about role expectations is very important!

Best wishes to you both.

Kalli Matsuhashi

By Breastfeeding-Support on Friday, May 12, 2000 - 1:59 pm:

La Leche League International is a breastfeeding support group for pregnant and nursing mothers. For further information and maps and scheduled meetings and activities please contact 03-3425-2534 or 03-3394-4359 (Tokyo).

By Alan on Wednesday, May 31, 2000 - 7:46 am:

[Anyone here work for Bandai?]

Bandai Company Have-3rd Baby Bonus

The drop in the birth rate in Japan has prompted a number of government initiatives, and now a company is offering its employees bonuses of 1,000,000 yen if they have a third child:

Will it work? Or does it ignore more deep seated changes in social circumstances? Japan is not alone in experiencing declining birth rates.

By Kathryn Takeuchi on Friday, July 7, 2000 - 2:44 pm:

Try Aiiku Hospital - (next to Arisugawa Park & National Azabu Supermarket)
Hiroo Station ph: 03 3473 7136
It's a very nice maternity hospital which allows husband assisted births! Actually it was the only one I could find. After a few scary visits to the local public university hospital I was ready to give birth at home by myself, but then I went to Aiiku and now I'm relatively satisfied. My husband (who is Japanese) and I have recently had the comforting experience of attending the hospital run couples' birth preparation class where we met 15 other couples who are giving birth together (all Japanese) and the atmosphere was overwhelmingly supportive. (Great for my husband - he thought he was the first man in Japan to attend a birth - but there are actually a lot out there.) There are lots of foreigners using the hospital apart from me and all of the staff speak some English and some of the doctors are extremely competent in it.
Traditonally, men have not attended births in any country, but it does seem to be true that Japanese systems have not caught up as quickly as in other countries to modern birthing practices. I think it is partly because of the strict rules in most hospitals, and lack of serious demand to have things changed. If you are not happy with your hospital - don't go there. Hospitals will have to start being more flexible as they get less and less clients (and don't forget you are a paying customer, not an ill patient) for giving birth if they are reliant on it for some of their income!
There are also a lot of birthing clinics in Tokyo where your birth will be tailor-made rather than you having to fit into hospital policy.
If you want any more information please contact me!
Kathryn Takeuchi

By simona on Friday, July 13, 2001 - 1:53 am:

My name is Simona. I am due to deliver my first baby at about beginning of September. I go to the municipal hospital in Kawaguchi, which is close to my house, where the doctor speaks English but the nurses only speak Japanese (my Japanese is quite poor). There are some things that I would like to know, like what must I bring with me at the hospital, is it alright to bring my own pjamas, do I have to bring anything for the baby and so on. I would also like to follow some special classes for pregnant women and I would welcome any info about such classes in (around) Kawaguchi.
If you could help me with your advice I will be really greatfull for your kindness.

By Luciana Tani on Tuesday, July 18, 2000 - 10:14 am:

Dear Joana,
Seibo Hospital in Shinjuku does accept the father to be present at the birth. When the day came to my child to be born, my husband refused to enter the room. Later on when I was having big problems the midwives wanted to call him to support me but then I refused it! I did not want my husband to see me being punched on my stomach, with an oxygen mask and having a hemorrage!
So, sometimes things do not work out as we expect them to, but anyway I am glad I was in a hospital where my husband could have joined me if he/I wanted.

By Keely Fujiyama on Wednesday, June 12, 2002 - 3:06 pm:

I go to Sanno Hospital in Aoyama. They do allow husbands to be present, as long as they get prior notification.

However, I am not impressed with my pre-natal care there. They have not done one blood or urine test, and I had to ask to have my blood pressure taken. I do get regular ultrasounds though. Apparently they start blood and urine tests from 16 weeks, and I am only 12 weeks!

My husband is Japanese, lived in America for 7 years, but can be quite conventional at times. The problem is his work will not give him time to be with me when I give birth; he wants to be there!

Good Luck
Keely Fujiyama