Reply To: Birth experiences

It was better than I expected in some respects, but worse in others. All kids born in central Kansai: singleton first, twins second.

My first daughter was born in our crumbly, old city hospital, which had policy of no pain relief (One of the elderly nurses actually said to me ‘This is Japan, we don’t do painless births here’). But the after-birth care was brilliant. A total of 5 days in hospital, which was so, so helpful in getting breastfeeding established as a first time mum. In my country (UK), women are often sent home a few hours after birth, which seems far too quick. My daughter was kept in the nursery for the whole 5 days, I had to go there every 3 hours to feed her. This arrangement suited me quite well, although it is a bit old fashioned.

When I found out I was having more than one for my second pregnancy, I was immediately refered to a big, new university hospital, and spent the final three weeks of the pregnancy hospitalized. This extended hospitalization is standard practice for twin pregnancies in Japan apparently, regardless of complications. In my case, I was given the drug ritodrine 3 times a day for 3 weeks during this time, to prevent premature labor. This drug is considered dangerous in other countries, due to its side-affects (it causes your heart to race, and limbs to shake for two hours after each dose), so watch out for that if you are recommended to take it!

The twins were born at 37 weeks by c-section, my doctor/surgeon was wonderful, as were most of the nurses. My husband wasn’t allowed into theater, but to be honest, I doubt I’d have noticed him even if he was there! We spent a week in hospital, and this time I noticed a dramatic increase in the quality of the food after I had given birth (almost double the amount, delicious, and extra snacks throughout the day). The twins were put with me from the start this time, but there were nurses available to call 24/7 for help with breastfeeding etc.

Generally, I would say Japan has got the after-birth care right, but some of the other birth practices may need a bit of updating.