Pregnancy in Japan: Differences Between Japan and Other Countries

  • SOCIETY
  • CULTURE
  • Being pregnant in Japan is quite different from other countries, some people may find it unusual, but it works with Japanese society. Here are some things that might be different from Japan’s neighboring countries.

    The Maternity Mark

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    In Japan, women who report that they are pregnant are given this keychain or “maternity mark” after confirmation of the pregnancy by a doctor. This is given to all pregnant women so that they will be given priority in lines and when using public transportation, especially during the first six months of pregnancy wherein baby bumps are hard to notice.

    Vitamins

    Doctors in other countries suggest pregnant women take supplements that are available in drugstores. However in Japan, it may surprise you as doctors encourage women to take fruits, vegetables and milk as their vitamins. Japanese doctors believe in natural nutrition a mother can get from these foods, though during the first trimester, doctors still suggest taking folic acid as well as vitamins.

    Eating Sushi and Drinking Tea

    In other countries, pregnant women are advised not to eat any raw food like sushi. However, doctors in Japan allow women to eat this, in fact some consider it as a part of good prenatal nutrition. The consumption of the raw meat of chicken, pork and beef, however, is advised against.

    The same thing goes for drinking tea: in most countries pregnant women are told not to drink (a lot of) tea as tea tends to be high in caffeine. In Japan, drinking tea is considered OK for pregnant women.

    Body Weight Limit

    Japanese doctors are very strict in terms of diet or gaining weight during pregnancy. They are suggesting women to gain a maximum weight of 7 to 12 kilograms for the entire pregnancy, which would make for an easier delivery as well as a good practice to bring back the pre-pregnancy body in a short period of time.

    Epidural Pain Relief

    Not all hospitals in Japan offer epidural pain relief for a normal delivery. Some believe that the pain during delivery will facilitate bonding between mother and child.

    Rest Days after Delivery

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    Depending on the situation, the standard practice for women who have a normal delivery it’s suggested to stay in the hospital for 5 days while up to 7 days are given to those who had a caesarean delivery. Unlike in other countries, new mothers with a normal delivery are given 2 days or less and for caesarean delivery there is usually a maximum of 2-4 days if there are no complications. The recommended number of rest days after the delivery is higher than in many other countries. During these days, there are daily schedules for mothers to adhere to, and some days are dedicated to training and advise.

    For women who experience giving birth in Japan, these rest days may be a little bit boring, but If you look closely, this procedure is very effective. Long rest days not only focus on fast recovery of the body but also for maintaining a woman’s good health and well-being.

    Mothers’ well-being is important in Japanese society, that is why in the weeks or months after the hospital release, there are public nurses who check up on mothers and their babies. This is also seen as a way to spot post-partum depression if a new mom may be suffering from it.

    Free Incubator in Some Cases

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    In some countries, knowing that your baby is premature or underweight might somehow break your heart as well as your pockets. The Incubator’s cost will fall from $200 a day or more depending on the hospital. However, in Japan, the incubator may be free depending on the hospital. All you need to pay for is the baby’s diapers and milk.

    Hospitalization and Visitation

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    In other countries, the hospital allows the patient’s partner or relatives to stay beside them during hospitalization. However, in Japan only the mothers and their babies are allowed to stay in the hospital before and after the delivery. There are only visiting hours for their partners and relatives.

    At first, some people may find it unusual and hard but if you look closely, it is more convenient in a way. During hospitalization, mothers are mainly focused on their babies, and if they would need any help the hospital nurses are more than happy to assist them.

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