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Having a baby in Korea
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pangaea



Joined: 20 Dec 2007

PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 2010 1:31 am    Post subject: Having a baby in Korea Reply with quote

Just for future reference, I have some questions about pregnancy and giving birth in Korea.

I have heard that c-sections are very common in Korea. I am adamantly opposed to having a c-section unless it is medically necessary. Do doctors push women to have c-sections here or is it no problem to choose to have a baby the natural way?

What kind of pain relief is available? I don't like the idea of having an epidural as the thought of a needle in my spine makes me very uneasy.

Are there any Western-style birthing centers in Korea?

What kind of prenatal vitamins are available here?

I'm sure I will think of more questions later. Thanks for any info!
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ttompatz



Joined: 05 Sep 2005
Location: Kwangju, South Korea

PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 2010 2:16 am    Post subject: Re: Having a baby in Korea Reply with quote

pangaea wrote:
Just for future reference, I have some questions about pregnancy and giving birth in Korea.

I have heard that c-sections are very common in Korea. I am adamantly opposed to having a c-section unless it is medically necessary. Do doctors push women to have c-sections here or is it no problem to choose to have a baby the natural way?

What kind of pain relief is available? I don't like the idea of having an epidural as the thought of a needle in my spine makes me very uneasy.

Are there any Western-style birthing centers in Korea?

What kind of prenatal vitamins are available here?

I'm sure I will think of more questions later. Thanks for any info!


Find a nice "Women's Hospital" close to your home.

We started out at the Samsung womans hospital in Yongtong (Suwon) and when we moved to Bundang we switched to the Cheil Womans hospital at Seohyun.

The prenatal care was mostly covered by NHIC. Over the 8 months we spent about 500k won for prenatal care. It was first class all the way (18 visits over 8 months) and included multiple ultra-sounds and included 3-D (colored) sonograms (we have the pics) and a CD with digital copies of them as well.

Supplemental vitamins (prenatal) are readily available.

There was no pressure to have a c-section and so we had a natural birth in a western style birthing room. The doctor, nurse and floor staff spoke adequate English.

Cost of the delivery and 3 day hospital stay afterward (private room (TV, fridge, etc), western menu, nursery care, etc ) was 550k won.

For pain control - all the options you would expect were available (epidural, gas or IM/IV).

.
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tatu



Joined: 23 Jun 2006

PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 2010 2:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ttompatz are you real? You have so much good info. about everything.
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PatrickGHBusan



Joined: 24 Jun 2008
Location: Busan (1997-2008) Canada 2008 -

PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 2010 4:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tom is dead on.

My wife gave birth to our son in Busan and what he described is pretty much on target.
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fugitive chicken



Joined: 20 Apr 2010
Location: Bucheon

PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 2010 4:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm going to have a baby here next month, so far, so good! Far cheaper here than in the states and the quality of care I would say is just as good...sometimes too good if the pregnancy is going well, they still monitor you very closely.

My only concern is that I was told that no one in labor and delivery speak fluent English, so I am going to have a korean friend come and help keep my mind at ease as well as those of the doctors and nurses.

if tou have any questions, let me know!
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Jane



Joined: 01 Feb 2003

PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 2010 6:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Avoid the MizMedi hospitals in Seoul: there is one near Gimpo Airport and one in Gangnam. Terrible places to have a baby. Doctors who are too busy and unwilling to give information because they are not your primary doctor; pressured into unnecessary procedures, etc. It's nothing but a baby factory.

Make sure you go to a big hospital like the ones recommended above.
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taobenli



Joined: 26 Apr 2004

PostPosted: Sun Sep 26, 2010 4:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm glad for this thread, as I'd also like to follow it for future reference. I'm thinking of having a baby in Korea and it will be a bonus if it ends up being cheaper here than in the states. (I'm a grad student and my medical coverage in the US- when I'm there- is not great).

I guess I would have a harder time finding a really great hospital since I'm not near Seoul (Jeonju). One thing I'm worried about is cost of prenatal care. I am on a VERY weird visa as a researcher and am currently NOT eligible for national health care. I will be eligible starting in March. So, some questions:

1) If I required prenatal care before going on Korean national insurance, any idea how much that would cost without insurance? (My medical insurance is a travel plan from the US and simply doesn't cover maternity at all).

2) Has anyone used a doula in Korea and if so, can you give contact information? Bilingual would be great. (I guess the tricky part would be finding one outside of Seoul or who was willing to travel).

Thanks!
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ttompatz



Joined: 05 Sep 2005
Location: Kwangju, South Korea

PostPosted: Sun Sep 26, 2010 8:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

tatu wrote:
ttompatz are you real? You have so much good info. about everything.


No, I am just a figment of your imagination. Wink

taobenli wrote:
I'm glad for this thread, as I'd also like to follow it for future reference. I'm thinking of having a baby in Korea and it will be a bonus if it ends up being cheaper here than in the states. (I'm a grad student and my medical coverage in the US- when I'm there- is not great).

I guess I would have a harder time finding a really great hospital since I'm not near Seoul (Jeonju). One thing I'm worried about is cost of prenatal care. I am on a VERY weird visa as a researcher and am currently NOT eligible for national health care. I will be eligible starting in March. So, some questions:

1) If I required prenatal care before going on Korean national insurance, any idea how much that would cost without insurance? (My medical insurance is a travel plan from the US and simply doesn't cover maternity at all).

2) Has anyone used a doula in Korea and if so, can you give contact information? Bilingual would be great. (I guess the tricky part would be finding one outside of Seoul or who was willing to travel).

Thanks!


1) Prenatal costs for a normal pregnancy (or as normal as most are) will run between 500k and 1 million won over your 8 months (assuming no insurance).

3) Delivery costs without insurance will be about 1 million for normal delivery and 2 million if they need to do a C-section.

2) We didn't use the postpartum care center so we can't tell you about the costs associated with one. There are lots of them around so just ask some of your Korean female friends/co-workers. They will know.

.
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youtuber



Joined: 13 Sep 2009

PostPosted: Sun Sep 26, 2010 8:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Having a baby can have many complications.

You do not want to be in Korea if there are complications. Having had 2 medical procedures here, there is no way in hell that I would go through that again.

Sure you blindly go in and hope for the best, but it would be more prudent to err on the side of caution.

The National Health Insurance system is woefully insufficient.

And supporting a family on an ESL teacher's salary would be hell. Do you have any idea how small the apartments are here? Do you know how awful children's lives are in Korea?
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Vimfuego



Joined: 10 Apr 2009

PostPosted: Sun Sep 26, 2010 4:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

youtuber wrote:
Having a baby can have many complications.

You do not want to be in Korea if there are complications. Having had 2 medical procedures here, there is no way in hell that I would go through that again.

Sure you blindly go in and hope for the best, but it would be more prudent to err on the side of caution.

The National Health Insurance system is woefully insufficient.

And supporting a family on an ESL teacher's salary would be hell. Do you have any idea how small the apartments are here? Do you know how awful children's lives are in Korea?


Ignore this guy. My partner and I are expecting our first baby and the care offered by our hospital and doctor here has been excellent. There's a thread about birthing on the FAQs.

As for doula services, I've heard good things about http://birthinginkorea.com/about/

As for supporting a family on an ESL salary, I can't see your point at all. Most teachers save a fair chunk of cash living in Korea. Raising a child isn't that expensive. Plus, you don't have to put your child through the hell that your average Korean has to go through, for starters they won't have to go to numerous godforsaken hagwons to learn English Wink
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ttompatz



Joined: 05 Sep 2005
Location: Kwangju, South Korea

PostPosted: Sun Sep 26, 2010 5:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

youtuber wrote:
Having a baby can have many complications.

You do not want to be in Korea if there are complications. Having had 2 medical procedures here, there is no way in hell that I would go through that again.

Sure you blindly go in and hope for the best, but it would be more prudent to err on the side of caution.

The National Health Insurance system is woefully insufficient.

And supporting a family on an ESL teacher's salary would be hell. Do you have any idea how small the apartments are here? Do you know how awful children's lives are in Korea?


Pure nonsense.

.
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pangaea



Joined: 20 Dec 2007

PostPosted: Sun Sep 26, 2010 5:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

youtuber wrote:
Quote:
Having a baby can have many complications.
Yes, I know that.

You do not want to be in Korea if there are complications. Having had 2 medical procedures here, there is no way in hell that I would go through that again.

Sure you blindly go in and hope for the best, but it would be more prudent to err on the side of caution.

The National Health Insurance system is woefully insufficient.
It is much more affordable to have a baby here than it is at home.

And supporting a family on an ESL teacher's salary would be hell. Do you have any idea how small the apartments are here? Do you know how awful children's lives are in Korea?

I have way more extra money here than I do working at home. As for the apartments, not all of them are studios. Also, I never said I wanted to raise a baby here. It's a possibility that I might have one.


You are right that complications can happen which is something that I have to consider. Anyway, I don't know that it will happen. I am just doing my homework in advance, just in case. I do have several friends who have had babies here or are expecting one and they all seem happy with their experiences.
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fugitive chicken



Joined: 20 Apr 2010
Location: Bucheon

PostPosted: Sun Sep 26, 2010 6:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm due next month, and I am very happy with my experience so far. The care is great, they offer more prenatal care than you would get in the states. Depending on what they do at the visit, it costs between 25-70k each time for a once a month visit. (then every week for the last month)

Natural birth runs at around 300-400k and a c-section runs at around 700k. Very very cheap compared to the states. Epidurals and everything is available. National Health insurance doesn't seem to cover anything...either...

My advice is to be clear with your birth plan from the beginning. Our only concern was not seeing the baby after the birth as most Korean mothers opt to leave the child in the nursery for the first 2 days while they recover. However, you can request the child, but he or she cannot go back to the nursery.


ALSO! There is a pregnancy cash card you can apply for through KB bank, they give you 300k won as an incentive for giving birth here that works for paying for the hospital visits and baby stores nearby. Its been really nice.

PM me if anyone has any questions about my experience thus far.
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PatrickGHBusan



Joined: 24 Jun 2008
Location: Busan (1997-2008) Canada 2008 -

PostPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2010 4:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

youtuber wrote:
Having a baby can have many complications.

You do not want to be in Korea if there are complications. Having had 2 medical procedures here, there is no way in hell that I would go through that again.

Sure you blindly go in and hope for the best, but it would be more prudent to err on the side of caution.

The National Health Insurance system is woefully insufficient.

And supporting a family on an ESL teacher's salary would be hell. Do you have any idea how small the apartments are here? Do you know how awful children's lives are in Korea?



Complete rubbish and more to the point sad attempt at crap disturbing.
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smurfetta



Joined: 03 Oct 2007

PostPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2010 7:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not completely rubbish. There was a poster on this board that had to pay something like $8,000 on top of their Korean Healthcare because the baby was premature. I think bassexpander interviewed the couple on his podcast show.

Anyway, I had my son in Korea and it cost about 700,000 Won for prenatal and 700,000 Won for the birth with an epidural. I chose a woman's hospital with a low c-section rate and was pro-breastfeeding. So, it is doable but it takes a little research on your part to find the right hospital.
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