Giving birth in China and what to bring to the hospital

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Chinese hospital bag for moms in labor

As my due date is getting closer and closer, a bit over month to go now, I’ve been wondering what I need to bring with me to the hospital. In a Finnish hospital lot of things would be just given to me, but in a Chinese hospital you need to buy these items your self.

First of all you need your passport, hospital card and medical records. I’ve understood that these are needed when I will arrive to the hospital.

The first thing you need to buy is the hospital bag that is sold in your hospital, it’s called a 待产包 dàichănbāo in Chinese. The reason you need to buy these items from the hospital you will give birth in, is that the nurses are most familiar with their own bag and know how to use the products inside. So what’s included? I was surprised to find out it only included disposable underpads, maternity sanitary napkins and ID tags for your wrist.

Of course this isn’t enough! You will usually be spending at least two days in the hospital so many other items are also needed to make your birthing experience a bit more comfortable (is that even possible?). According to chats with other moms and researching the Chinese internet, I’ve found the following items to be important:

  • Toilet paper
  • Hand soap, shampoo and conditioner, toothbrush and toothpaste, deodorant, a comb
  • Wet napkins
  • Towel or two
  • Water cup or a bottle
  • Disposable or otherwise comfortable underwear
  • Newborn diapers
  • Slippers
  • Breastfeeding bra and pads
  • Snacks for you and the new dad
  • Clothes for you and the baby to wear when coming home

I haven’t put together my hospital bag yet, but as I’m already 34 weeks pregnant now, I should do it soon! Anything important that I forgot from my list?

  • It sounds like you have to bring everything by yourself, like you are preparing for travelling.
    Have you ever thought about coming to Finland for labour?

    [Reply]

    Sara Jaaksola Reply:

    Yes, public hospitals in China pretty much require you to bring everything yourself. Luckily if you forget to bring something you can also buy many items at the hospital.
    I thought about giving birth in Finland, but that would have required me to stay there for almost half a year and the risk of my husband missing his baby’s birth would have been quite big.

    [Reply]

    Betty has a Panda Reply:

    Yes of course that will not work when he wants to be with you and the baby when giving birth.
    A Chinese friend, also living here in Vienna, was brought to hospital when contractions began. His husband was at work, and when he came to the hospital 20 minutes later, his son was already born. He was quite sad that he missed it, but who would have thought that it would happen so fast.

    [Reply]

    Sara Jaaksola Reply:

    I think I would be terrified if my husband wouldn’t make it to the hospital in time with me! I need his support :)

    Of course if you are lucky to have a quick delivery that might not be a bad thing either.

    [Reply]

  • Marina

    One of my friend is a midwife and she advises to bring your own pillow(s), an old nightdress/T-shirt (which you don’t mind getting dirty during labour), things to help you relax or pass time (like books or music), lip balm (many women get dry lips during a long labour), backless slip-on slippers (easy to get on and off) and your dressing gown. It’s also good if your husband can bring a water spray or a little fan for you during labour and a straw to help you drink. I hope you’ll have a good birthing experience! :)

    [Reply]

    Sara Jaaksola Reply:

    Lip balm, slippers and a straw are definitely going to my hospital bag, thanks! :)

    [Reply]