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kiakahamama 11-08-2006 05:21 AM


I'm putting this question out there asking if anyone out there knows of any connections to a midwifery community that would do China. My family and I are considering a move to China...timing yet unknown. We are still looking into options, and I am 15 weeks pregnant. Midwifery seems to be a rare concept in China, and as I started digging, it occurred to me it might be smart to just toss my queries out in a net far and here I am.

Many thanks for any information you might be able to give me.


donutmolly 11-13-2006 02:57 AM

Hi, just wanted to respond with what I know... which is not much. My family lives in China (we're American teachers in an international school). I got pregnant in China and we chose to move back to the US to have the baby (midwife assisted homebirth) because of the birth options available here.

Most Chinese women in cities have highly medicalized births, with the C-section rate in cities like Shanghai anywhere from 50-75% !!! The opinions I have heard from my Chinese friends is that hospitals are absoultely necessary for having a baby and that only poor country women have their babies at home. The foreign women I know have either moved home to have their babies, or gone to a large intenational hospital (with English-speaking staff) -- which is also very medical, no midwifes to my knowledge.

That said, in large cities (like Shanghai) there are so many foreigners you could probably find a couple of midwives among them that might be willing to assist a birth. You might try advertising in a local publication aimed at foreigners (look on the web). However, I was living in a mid-sized city with a sizeable foreign population and had no luck with finding acceptable care.

I'd love to know what you come up with! I wish there were more options for the Chinese women here, as well myself!

aliciahorsley 11-15-2006 06:43 AM

i think highly medicalized births are part and parcel of 'progress' in asia. i am in malaysia and have had two such births. i am hoping to avoid a similar scenario third time round and everyone, from my parents to my gp think i am insane and kooky. my in laws who are british are also equally appalled and my sisters think i need (more) medical help

but good luck in your search.

kiakahamama 11-15-2006 08:30 PM

Hello Alicia and Donutmolly,

thanks to both of you for your responses...they have been very helpful... We have since decided to stay in the states until the birth of our baby...given the information i've been gathering, this has been a bit of a relief actually. Donutmolly, good for you for sticking w your interests re your next birth. i think it takes a lot of courage to go against the grain of those close to you. In reality my mother in law has no idea of our plans, to have the baby at home, here in the states! she grew up in rural Idaho in the '30's and considers, as you would expect, those highly medicalized births to be great progress, that i'd be denying myself, and our baby of... then again, hopefully, she's learned a thing or two from our lifestyle. our children eat organically, and it hasn't killed them yet! who knows. i appreciate your comments both of you. I certainly hope the concept of 'progress' as mentioned earlier, can broaden in Chinese society.

Alicia, you mentioned actually, the possibility of putting an ad out there online in China, and i was wondering what you thought of the possibility that there is policing going on in which someone on the look out might flag such an advertisement (for a homebirth midwife); i would do it, advertise, but... i've heard it happens in China, on various other topics (political) restricting free speech. any thoughts?

Best to you both. Natasha (kiakahamama)

donutmolly 11-16-2006 05:03 AM

I think that you would find that advertising for a homebirth in publications aimed at foreigners would not at all interest the government censors. They are really more concerned with other types of activities.... But the publisher of the website/magazine would probably be able to let you know if they thought the advertisment would be a problem. Just for example, a local publication in the city I lived in formerly (Qingdao) has an ad monthly for the local Christian fellowship... it is a foreigner-only meeting, and registered with the gov. -- so no prob. I can't imagine them making any fuss about one foreign woman wanting to have her baby outside the hospital!

Oh, it totally cracked me up to talk to people back in the states about how we had moved back to the US to have the baby. Their concerned nods and comment about how it's so much safer in the US, good hygiene in the hospitals, doctors, etc... and then my, "actually we had a homebirth..." My MIL and mom were both not thrilled, but have learned that they might as well save their breath with Dh and I.

Hope you do make it to China sometime after the baby is born. We've found that it is a great place to be a family!

lioralourie 12-11-2006 03:17 AM

home birthing is frowned upon here (to discourage the girl infanticide thing, I suppose). So any licensed health professional, I've heard, will lose their license for attending a home birth.

But...I still had one. Unassisted. I did cover my bases and got a checkupat a nearby hospital, acting like my intentions were to birth there (& to have all paperwork done in case of a real emergency). It helped that I was new to town and so I just pretended I had lots of prenatal care back in Shanghai.

After the fact, I did a 'oops labor progressed too fast to make it here in time'. The hosp. didn't care--I presented the baby, and my placenta (still iinside me, needed a manual removal ) and they issued the birth certificate.

I have heard that in Shanghai there are a couple of expat ex-midwife women /labor nurses or what not, and I am almost certain someone would be willing to attend a homebirth if asked.

As for Beijing where I am, I would love to attend although I have no formal training other than the rather extensive research and books I have read for my own births. I also have a couple of homebirthing or homebirth-friendly moms who might also be excited about this.

lioralourie 12-11-2006 03:27 AM

I forgot to say that some of the foreigner hospitals (United Family, specifically, and Int'l Peace Maternity Hosp.) offer midwives on staff.

At Shanghai's United Family, her name is Mei Ka Chin (MK for short) and she trained in the U.S. for a long time, and reputation has it that she is wonderful.

So there's that option...birthing in a hospital and hopefully bypassing the doctorized system a little.

Just keep in mind that some of the 'midwives' are not trained at all, or don't speak English...the definition varies wildly from 'a Chinese speaker who will stay by your side and silently massage you a bit' to 'fully interactive and knowledgeable health expert /support person who can communicate in English'

lioralourie 02-14-2007 01:40 PM

Okay, there's a significant update here.

There is a midwife in Beijing. A Certified Professional Midwife from the U.S. She is not associated with any hospital (or licensed here) so she is free to attend home births. She has a few clients right now which makes me sooooo happy! Please PM me for details.

There is a midwife, also, in Shanghai. I do not have her contact details, but if need be I have friends in Shanghai and can easily obtain that info. I have not lived in SH for a year, so there may be other options as well that I'm not up to date on.

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