Pregnancy and post-natal care in Taiwan

I believe this is the correct forum for this topic.

I’m investigating various aspects of pregnancy and pre- and post-natal care here in Taiwan this semester and I thought I’d ask the foreign community for their thoughts on any of the following. Local posters feel free to respond too!

So, without further ado:

  1. How was the experience of giving birth here in Taiwan? If you have had children back home, how did it compare in terms of doctor’s counsel, hospital care and length of stay, costs, etc.?

  2. For fathers, did you find the hospitals here in Taiwan to be father-friendly? Can you compare it to your experiences (if any) back home or elsewhere?

  3. Did you (as a mother) take one month off for complete and total rest (“zuo yue zi”) as is the custom here in Taiwan? If so, what rules did you adhere to in terms of diet, activity, hygiene, etc. If you didn’t “zuo yue zi” what did you do?

  4. What do you make of the relatively high proportion of c-section births in Taiwan (1 in 3)? Auspicious days, easier for the woman, anything else? Did you have a c-section or just go (relatively) au naturel?

I’ll be narrowing down my focus when it comes time to actually write. In the meantime, I’m just throwing everything out there. Thanks for reading this.

So, upon further investigation I found this interesting thread:

[Joyedza (Zuo yue zi)

(Have I perhaps posted in the wrong forum?)

And don’t forget the Parent Pages. It has a lot of information about a lot of stuffs.

Thanks, Doc. I’m all over those parents like a mother-in-law over the ping-jin…or something like that.

My son spent 11 days in ICU with jaundice and because he choked on amniotic fluid. The visiting hours were 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes at night. I would find him in soaking wet diapers with horrid baby rash and cried, literally to the nurses to change him more often. The Dr lied to my face about examining him on a Sunday, I had seen the sign in sheet and asked a nurse if anyone had seen him. I yelled at the Dr, made him copy my son’s record and removed him from the hospital the moment his jaundice was under control.

The nursing staff was a bunch of candy striper age girls who giggled every time I walked into ICU and would leave naked premie babies on a frigid scale for minutes at a time while they chatted away.

If I hadn’t been in shock most of the time I probably would have made the six o’clock news. Oh, and the stairwell right outside of the neonatal ICU was filled with smokers and beetle nut cups. :frowning:

This was in the Taichung BTW, the hospital not across the road from Tunghai University, but just down the road a bit, going into Taichung.

I did NOT find them to be father friendly or mother friendly for that matter…more like a birthing area for cattle.

I don’t want to present a typical or atypical horror story jake, but I would suggest visiting several hospitals and observing things very closely, and talking to ANY foreigner you meet in the neonatal unit.

Yes, the wife took the month off, and bascially got shown the ropes by her Mom. It’s a very important cultural thing for the taiwanese wife and well worth it. Although bring BIG grains of salt. NO washing the hair. eek :astonished:

The baby can never go outside. :unamused:

peace

God JD what a horrible experience.

One issue that Westerners often find difficult is that the babies are often kept apart from the mum, even when not in ICU. Particularly in small private clinics, where there is no provision for keeping the baby with you, or indeed any provision of any sort, other than a bed, a couch for your duty relative, a loud telly and a small space for your gangs of other relatives to mill around and watch it. In these clinics, breastfeedgin is actively discouraged; the yingerfang babyroom has a large plate glass window with curtains, and at visiting hours the curtain is drawn back so you can peer in at the mite, having identified it by a label attached to it bearing its mother’s name.

A friend and his wife had a good experience recently at Changgen. It was a Caesarian (the rate for caesarians is really high here, and I think there is sometimes undue pressure on mums to go this route, but in this case the baby was extremely big for his mum’s size). They were positive about breastfeeding, and provided some assistance: although as usual in Taiwan, most responsibility for nursing care fell to relatives. There was no problem keeping the baby by the bedside.

More later.

:astonished: Jeez, that’s terrible. I hope it is atypical!

What we did was to treat the first few pre-natal checkups almost as interviews of the doctors and hospitals. About the first 4 or 5 checkups were with at different places until we found one we liked. We ended up at the Union Woman’s Hospital on Songjiang Rd. (Taipei)

In general, that hospital was fine - they gave you the option of keeping your child in your room with you, or leaving him in the ‘baby factory’ except at feeding times etc., and were pretty flexible about it all. Most of the nurses were fine (although there was one who was young and inexperienced and useless) Our major problem was in fact that they were too keen on breastfeeding - when there’s blood coming out rather than milk, it’s probably time to try formula!

For father-friendliness: most of the nurses treated me as irrelevant and someone who was just getting in the way - but I suspect that goes for nurses the world over. I wasn’t allowed into the delivery room because it was a caesarian, which I think is the position of most doctors in Taiwan.

My general impression is that giving birth in Taiwan is all about making it as easy as possible … for the doctor. Because doctors are high-status, they are accustomed to telling people what to do and being obeyed - so things like asking the mother for her opinion often just doesn’t happen. I suspect this is also a reason for the high caesarian rate here: the doctor decides it’ll be easier to whip the baby out on Friday at 2pm (cos he’s playing golf on Saturday and doesn’t want to be disturbed), and tells the mum that that’s what will happen. So, finding a doctor who will listen to you and is willing accept your opinion is important.

We did the zuo yue zi at home - with a nanny coming in 9-5 every day to look after mother and child (and father :slight_smile: ). My wife then picked & chose which traditions to keep and which not to.

I only write my story as a possible teaching tool…not to scare anyone off.

Just that if you see something wrong, and you know it’s wrong, remove your kid. Don’t be dumbed down by some knowitall Dr who keeps telling you “mei gwan xi.”

Taking our son out of the hospital was the hardest decision of my life, because “What if I’m wrong?”

But he looked strong, his jaundice count was below the worry level and I’d fucking had it with the hospital.

Prenancy is a long long wait and then in about 10 minutes your entire life style and outlook change…for the better. Educate yourself and ask a shitload of questions every time your see the Dr. If he/she always answers qith curt replies, prepare yourself. Sometimes some of these assholes think people don’t even know how babies are made.

Or ask me if I’m free. I’ll go with ya! lol
grrrrrrr! :smiling_imp:

“Can they have sex?”
“Until when?”
“They need to know!!!”

:wink:

I had such a fun time, I thought I would write it up:

  1. How was the experience of giving birth here in Taiwan? If you have had children back home, how did it compare in terms of doctor’s counsel, hospital care and length of stay, costs, etc.?

I had a wonderful time during pregnancy, birth, and afterward. My doctor was very professional, made me (and many other of his patients I met later) feel very happy and calm about the whole thing, his view was very much it is a very natural thing to be pregnant, not something to get all nervous about. Each visit, he reminded me to write down all and any questions so I would remember for the next visit. He encouraged my husband to talk to him, and to be present for the birth. When I went into premature labor, the hospital staff looked after me very well for the 4 days I had to lie on the bed in the dark. It still takes some getting used to having family assist with soem things in the hospital, that is different from home. But the nurses were so understanding about my wonderful,kind fatherinlaw being embarrassed to change my bedpan, and happily helped with that.

My hospital is pro-breastfeeding, and we had lessons before birth and in the days afterward to show us how to breastfeed and to care for ourselves. I told my doctor “I plan to breastfeed for 6 months.” He said, “You may reconsider… many of my patients breastfeed for 2 or 3 years.” I was encouraged to spend the first two hours with my son, and even though he had to go into intensive care (my water broke more than 24 hours before labor so he had to go for observation), the nurses called me as soon as he cried to go and feed him, and they pushed for 24-hour rooming-in as soon as my son was deemed OK. when a male technician told me he was considering supplementing with formula, the superisor said, “Don’t you KNOW she is breastfeeding? You should be trying to get the baby with her, not saying that stuff.” Every feeding time I had at least one nurse helping me out. When I left the hospital, my doctor talked to my inlaws about the traditional foods and which ones I shouldn’t eat/eat too much of, and he told me how to do sneaky exercise without upsetting the Chinese one-month rest issue too much (he suggested I take my son with me to the gym, so I could feed him if he got hungry… I think he may be a bit ahead of his time?). My hospital called me regularly right up to when my son was one year old, to see how everything was going and to encourage me to use their (free) assistance service.

  1. For fathers, did you find the hospitals here in Taiwan to be father-friendly? Can you compare it to your experiences (if any) back home or elsewhere?
    I can say my husband found it father-friendly, the final stages of labor were like the boy’s club, the three of them (father, OB, assistant) standing back and saying, “She’s doing great, how many pushes do YOU think she needs?” When I was lying there waiting for contractions, and my husband went to the gym and to do a spot of shopping, the nurse did give him a hard time, though, said he gave Taiwanese men a bad name!

  2. Did you (as a mother) take one month off for complete and total rest (“zuo yue zi”) as is the custom here in Taiwan? If so, what rules did you adhere to in terms of diet, activity, hygiene, etc. If you didn’t “zuo yue zi” what did you do?
    I kind of did, for 3 weeks, until my husband considered me suicidal due to lock-up, and took me and baby out for lunch. We took our first overseas vacation when our son was 3 months. I wasn’t allowed to bath the baby (that’s still hard for me to take), or open the freezer (I used to get up in the middle of the night and touch the icecubes… it was August and I was 20kg over my prebirth weight, I needed ice!). My husband got to eat lots of oily chicken. I showered with some of the herbs, they were nice. It was hard for the family to understand I wanted to breastfeed, because it conflicted with their idea of resting, but we got through it. Everytime someone came to visit they told me to lie down, but it just wasn’t happening. The prenatal classes I went to included lessons on the diet for the first month and told us all we must cut down on the meats and add fruit and vegetables.

  3. What do you make of the relatively high proportion of c-section births in Taiwan (1 in 3)? Auspicious days, easier for the woman, anything else? Did you have a c-section or just go (relatively) au naturel?
    I went for natural birth, no drugs, but in the hospital. I said maybe I wanted drugs, my doctor said, less than 5% of his patients took anything for their birth, but if you really needed something, he would arrange it no matter what time of the night (unlike some other places where you need to book!!) Again, doctor was pro-natural labor, so is the hospital. In prenatal class, they encouraged swimming while pregnant, and offered special swim classes, and had research that showed that since they brought this into their hospital, the need for drugs during pregnancy had dropped.

Asiababy, where is this happy place? My wife is thinking about going to Adventist hospital, but we are not sure if we can communitcate our wishes to delivery doctors there and especially to nurses since we both cannot speak Chinese.

I went to Chung Shan hospital because the have lots of experience dealing with foreigners. My first baby was pretty straight forward but he had trouble with swollowing amniotic fluid and had to stay a week. The second time I knew what I wanted and TOLD the doctors the baby was staying with me and I was checking out in the morning, which I did much to their horror.

The months rest with two kids, not a chance! I was in playgroup the following week! I did drink buckets of sesame chicken soup though.

We have written about this topic extensively over at parentpages if you want to come have a look.

Had a baby at Adventist and was pleased with most of the experience. I still do recommend it. Also had a baby at Chung Shan. Happy with my doctors, happy that they left me alone much of the time, loved the food–had the Chinese menu. Not perfect again and two of the nurses thought they could tell me when I could leave, when I could have my baby, etc. but again, still pleased and I continue to recommend my doctors there–Bernice and Jean.

Good luck with your decision. asiababy’s doc sounds great too–I lived just ten minutes from there (Wangfang Hospital) and didn’t even know about him.

Adventis Hospital is very pro breast feeding. I had my 2 babies there. My elder son had jaundice and was put in ICU. That time they didn’t allow me to bring my baby to bedside but I was reminded every two hourly to ‘journey’ down to the breastfeeding room to have my baby fed.I have always found their medical team professional and compassionate. The second time round I checked out their confinement centre 3 months in advance and booked myself into there for my confinement. Enjoyed every minute that I was there. It was actually fun doing the confinement. I had the baby with me most times of the day but sent her back any time I wanted to take a nap or sleep at night(yes, this is possible even in the small hours.) They had breast pumps in the room for breastfeeding so I could even “donate” my baby’s leftovers to the prematuals in ICU. Of course they did do a v thorough blood screen on me before they would accept the donation. Menu wise, I had a choice of healthy, non-greasy western food but I decided to order out and got myself the traditional staff, boy, did I look forward to the desserts everyday.Of course, I put on something like 16 pounds after that.

To anyone that can offer suggestions:
My husband and I just moved to Chiayi and I just found out I am pregnant. Does anyone have any opinions on Chiayi Christian Hospital? Has anyone had a baby there? Please email me at lnlhansen@yahoo.com .
Thanks.

Laura