Prenatal check-ups in China

After an exciting announcement it’s time to get started with pregnancy blogging with a Chinese twist! Since we’ve known about the pregnancy I’ve done bunch of paperwork, chosen the hospital and the doctor for check-ups (but no idea where to give birth!) and had three ultrasounds already.

As I’m married to a local guy, I surprisingly found out that I’m eligible for some free check-ups just like any other Chinese woman in this city! Getting these required quite a lot of paper work, but all was done within a few kilometers from our house. Because we live in the Huangpu district, I also had to choose a local hospital for having prenatal check-ups in order to enjoy the benefits. Luckily my sister-in-law is a nurse and had her baby just few days ago, so she recommended her own hospital and doctor for me.

My first impression of Doctor Xiong wasn’t that pleasant as she was busy and ignored me completely and asked questions about me through my sister-in-law. Luckily I found her to be a nice person during my first official prenatal visit earlier this week. I was a bit afraid that the topic of weight would come up, as she had scolded my sister-in-law for putting up so much extra weight during her pregnancy, but for now she just reminded me to eat as I had lost some weight during my first trimester.

Funny things about seeing the doctor in China is that you are in charge of filing your paperwork and all your test results. You get a A4 booklet where all the information will be written and all the test slips will be glued on during the 9 months of pregnancy. This means that in the end you have a huge bunch of paper to carry around!

Chinese hospitals can seem like a maze sometimes, often requiring running around the hospital and asking nurses where you need to go every step of the way. Getting my self registered for prenatal care would have been almost impossible without my knowledgeable sister-in-law that held my hand through the process. After registering things got much easier as I can just schedule my appointments directly with my doctor through WeChat.

This is all for now, but what aspects of being pregnant in China would you like to read on my blog? Are you interested in the practical things like finding a good doctor or how much it actually costs? Or perhaps you want to know about the cultural differences between being pregnant in China vs. Finland? Let me know your thoughts and wishes in the comments!

  • Ellen

    Yes, it is bizarre to see doctors at public hospitals in China… It takes quite a lot of time and effort to find a doctor you trust. However, I have to pay the credit to the Chinese hospitals: even if you pay by yourself, check-ups here are so cheap! I paid 156 yuan for a 3D ultrasound. A regular ultrasound is slightly over 100 yuan. And to be honest, there’s a good side about having all the papers with you. During my pregnancy I had some check-ups in one country, then another, then the third country, and sometimes it was inconvenient to ask the doctor to give me all the data and results, because it was “troublesome” to print out (or copy) it.
    Can you compare in one of the next blog entries the birth facilities in China and in Finland and which methods (water birth, on the back, on a chair etc…) they prefer in each country?

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    Sara Jaaksola Reply:

    True! The check-ups are very cheap in local hospitals. In Finland many use 100 to 200 euros for the early ultrasound, but in China I paid just a little over 100rmb.

    Like I told Timo, I don’t really know that much about how things are in Finland as I haven’t experienced it. But after my holiday in Finland I’ll be able to tell more :)

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    R Zhao Reply:

    It is cheap, but it can add up, especially since they want you to get ultrasounds and blood tests every few weeks (more if you are having issues during your pregnancy) whereas in my home country there would only be about 2-3 ultrasounds done in total. My friend is in Guangzhou and she is having a lot of health issues while pregnant and ends up spending over 1000 rmb for each appointment with all the tests.

    That’s great that you are able to get free care. Is it through the government or your husband’s work? I was under the impression that most Chinese women pay for their prenatal care.

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    Sara Jaaksola Reply:

    I have to agree, even though the extra ultrasounds are cheaper than in Finland, cause in Finland you would need to go to a private clinic. But of course the basic check ups are all free in Finland, can’t really compete with that.

    The free check ups, only a few, not too many, that I get for free are through the local 街道 to manages the local area, so nothing to do with my husband’s work. I guess all Chinese woman are able to get these, but just have to do these check ups in one of the designed hospitals in the district.

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  • I’d love to hear more about the differences between Finland and China :)
    Though I know how it is in Finland I could only hear stories thus far about the process in China and truth to be told, each story was totaly different that it seemed they all talked about different countries..

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    Sara Jaaksola Reply:

    At the moment I don’t know much how things are done in Finland, but next month I have a “neuvola” appointment in Finland so I’ll know more then and can compare the two better :)

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    Timo Reply:

    Thats great. Compared to Germany the system in Finland is really really great with Neuvola.

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