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Hospital recommendations for giving birth

Mandrake (129 posts) • 0

Before anyone tells me to look at the other threads I am aware of other threads in the forum, but they are old and outdated, hence my reason for asking again.

I would like to hear from foreigners or mixed race couples living in Kunming, which hospitals they would recommend giving birth in. I would prefer advice from people with first hand experience. Private or public hospitals could be recommended.

The reason I ask is because we have been to visit a few hospitals, namely Yanan Hospital and People's hospital of Panlong Disctrict (both of which are Chinese public hospitals). Here is my gripe with them, they want us to perform a battery of blood tests most of which are unnecessary, e.g. blood type, when my wife's blood type is known, vitamin A and E test which has no medical relevance to pregnancy and birth, Hepatitis A, B, C when my wife's status is already known from a test done a few months ago to get the birth permit; among many other unnecessary tests. I would like to add that I am medically trained so I am well educated in pregnancy and birth protocols according to international standards. I get the feeling from the two Chinese hospitals that they are just meat factories and lack decent medical training and are trying to squeeze as much money out of their patients as possible.

As a result we went to look at Richland international hospital. We were impressed, but felt the prices were exorbitant compared to public hospital prices, but then you are paying for privacy. However we have heard of a situation that happened in Richland hospital which has caused us much concern medically. I won't go into to details, but it has not given us any sense of medical trust in this institution.

So thus as we continue to search I would like to hear other GK users experiences and recommendations of hospitals to give birth in. A doctor who speaks English or has experience dealing with foreigners would also be a bonus, but not necessary as my wife is Chinese, so the language barrier is not an issue.

Thanks in advance for any feedback provided.

Liumingke1234 (3297 posts) • 0

Have you tried the hospital called:

Maria? They specialize in pregnancies from all the advert they have.

baiyuxiang (111 posts) • 0

My wife gave birth almost two years ago at the Tongren Hospital in the south. My experience with hospitals mirrors yours to a large extent. Although I'm not medically trained it doesn't take a genius to know when you're being taken advantage of. Lots of unnecessary tests/fears.

We went to Tongren somewhat at the last minute (previous checks were done at Yunda Hosp.) on the recommendation of a friend who knew a doctor there, but of course the date and time of (natural) birth are not made to fit into a particular doctor's schedule, so when the time came we got someone else anyway. That doctor since moved on to Angel Hospital —higher paying than Tongren, I expect. I wouldn't say that I recommend Tongren, but it mostly worked for us. I'm also interested in current feedback on this topic in the event that we have another child.

walter (48 posts) • 0

Specifics-wise, I heard a very bad first hand (mother's) story recently about what was reportedly "the best", Yunnan University Hospital. (Disclaimer: I am not sure exactly which hospital this is, for I haven't been there) For instance, they had no idea at all about pain management options, basic nutrition, etc.

We flew to Thailand instead (last year) where there are many options. Not counting hotel and travel/visa expenses, we paid 100,000THB (18,000CNY) for a modern/clean/international hospital to do a Cesarean birth (including pre-birth tests and consultations, 3-4 days in a private hospital room, good food, etc.) While this may sound expensive it's really not compared to private hospitals in China and is light years ahead of them. Unfortunately, you can only fly a few months before the birth and thus need to take 3+ months off work (not possible for everyone).

By multiple reports (and my personal hospital experiences here for non-birth cases over 15 years) the amount of bullshit you have to go through in Chinese hospitals is ridiculous. Let's face it: giving birth is stressful enough. Unless your Chinese part of the family insists on doing it locally and you have the patience to go through with that I would strongly recommend considering Thailand.

We have used and are very happy with 昆明市妇幼保健院 for post-birth immunizations. They specialize in kids and are located just up the hill from Green Lake. (Note that every country has its own idea of which immunizations are required, and they differ by phase of moon throughout Yunnan. Note also that international serum costs a lot more here than local stuff, if you choose to use it you will be paying US$100 or so per shot instead of ~zero)

We also went to Maria pre-birth but don't rate it on professionalism or quality of experience.

You got it right, Richland is shit. A friend of mine went there for a bout of salmonella, which is pretty standard here. Instead of the normal hospital thing in China of a few stabbed needles, drips and a night in hospital (40-100RMB: I know, I've done it twice here and once in Qingdao, plus once here for another friend) they made him stay for days in an exorbitant room and used scare tactics to claim he had to pay some stupid amount of money in case of some completely unrelated situation, extra tests, etc. I felt really bad that I let him go there. He wound up paying through the nose, I believe something close to 10,000CNY.

Facts are, a lot of Chinese private hospitals are run as virtual scams and they really are dishonest.

We also went to hospitals in Australia and France (Necker, which was the first pediatric hospital in the world!), but still heartily recommend Thailand.

If you would like help with the processes in Thailand let me know, my wife and I would be happy to talk to you.

yankee00 (1632 posts) • 0

How did you end up choosing that specific hospital among others in Thailand? Other readers might be interested in knowing its name.

walter (48 posts) • 0

We had previously had experience and information regarding some hospitals in Bangkok as we lived there for a year until about a year before the birth.

Based on that first and second hand information we settled on BNH Hospital, which we felt maintained a comfortable balance between serving wealthier locals and foreigners and a correspondingly international standard of service. The location was relatively accessible too, we stayed down the road near Wat Khek which has good Chinese, Indian, Middle Eastern and western food. We actually did a bulk time deal with a 5 star place there (on the logic that a good breakfast buffet would be beneficial in late pregnancy) but moved in to a less over the top place shortly after the birth, then after considering and writing off the islands on account of lack of decent medical service availability extracted ourselves to Chiang Mai where there is less air pollution (for part of the year, at least) to await passports for our daughter that would enable us to return to China.

None of us had or have any medical insurance at all, and we did not find this was a problem, in fact it saved time and hassle we would otherwise have been lumbered with.

Our previous experiences included Samathivej and Bangkok Hospital. We decided against the Bumrun'grad hospital as both locals and foreigners asserted it was too comfortably ensconced as the 'go to' hospital for expats and inbound medical tourists (many from the Middle East), thus overpriced and relatively lacking in service.

We also flew my mother in law down awhile before the birth which was a memorable experience for her (lots of new food!) and a good way to deal with concerns from extended family.

Geezer (1953 posts) • 0

Your perception of Bangkok's Bumrungrad Hospital is the same as mine. Went there for cataract surgery but decided not to have it done as Bumrungard insisted I become a cardiology patient and undergo a complete battery of assessment tests. They administered four different blood clotting tests for starters.

I finally got my eyes fixed at Bright Eyes Hospital on Longquan Lu near the C4. Back in the US and ophthalmologist said the cataract work was excellent. About 1500 yuan per eye.

YuantongsiYuantongsi (717 posts) • 0

We had our baby in Maria, almost 9 years ago, more recently 4-5 friends had their babies there too, seems OK.

In one of my friends case they wrote her blood type wrong, on her records, luckily she noticed before the birth because she had to have a C-Section and wouldn't have been able to tell them during birth.

laotou (1714 posts) • 0

This is neither a recommendation nor a detraction - your milage may vary.

Three years ago, we gave birth to the baby hospital behind the Green Lake Hotel. My wife is a native speaker, so communication with her is not a problem. She delivered naturally, but required minor surgery to facilitate the birth, which protracted her recovery time, substantially. This year we gave birth again - the hospital has a new major facility in the WuHua District, where we went for all pre-delivery exams and then back to the Hua Shan Xi Lu hospital for delivery.

We noticed a subtle change in the "feeling" of the place and the "care". It was different and she wasn't as comfortable or confident in the physician or nursing staff - but nothing severely alarming - even for someone like me who postulates endlessly on perfect storms or risk.

Again, she delivered naturally, although c-sections appeared to be popular - they're more expensive and it seems the recovery can be more painful and more protracted. The two women who had c-sections were plus-sized - even for pregnant women - and seemed to suffer from considerable pain.

If you want a VERY low cost alternative - try the TCM hospitals which also provide maternity and traditional western physician care.

ALL maternity hospitals should be equipped with ICUs (intensive Care Units) for both premature newborns and potential complications stemming from delivery - to include crash carts - for "on the table" heart seizures. These are usually required when a c-section or other surgical procedure goes terribly wrong - especially if the patient opted for a general versus local anaesthetic - which one should NEVER do.

The level of care seems to have changed and although nothing significantly negative occurred - it was the small seeming imperceptible things that bothered - mostly my wife.

Towards the end of our week at the hospital - the nursing staff would ask us to bring our newborn to the bathing room. Three years ago, the bathing room had glass windows and was rather soundproofed. They had a baby "swimming pool", where they'd attach "neck flotation devices" to older babies that were brought in for bathing - novel and fun to watch - apparently fun for the babies also. They also bathed newborns in the room (but NOT the swimming pool thing).

That's gone. The new baby bathing room has no windows and they bathe the kids behind a locked door. It's now a machine-like operation. Our baby came back from each bathing sessions as though she'd been terrorized - so we elected to stop and just take care of bathing the kid when we returned home - as it's ONLY a week.

Chinese hospitals require the father or designee to remain by the wife's bedside from the day she checks in, to the day she checks out. You should try to find family to help relieve you - as it's physically tiring. You can try to sleep in the pregnant wife's bed OR you can bring your own fold-out (we did the fold-out). The hospital bed is as comfortable as a granite counter top.

You will need to bring formula, bottles (120ml is best for newborns), newborn (NB) diapers, wet wipes, and baby powder. We also used disposable tissues under the baby's chin to cover the invariable leakages.

The hospital's pack 'em in like cattle. A room designed for three rooms is modified for four to five. We were in a four bed room, obviously designed for 2-3. They also had backup beds in the hallway, and the walls were tapped for power and oxygen (actually a dry nitrogen/oxygen mix - but most people call it oxygen, so go with the flow). Anyway - the oxygen outlet is for nominal ventilation. They'll issue you a plastic bottle of distilled water with some tubes, to plug into the outlet, if your wife feels short of breath - which can happen.

You'll also need to bring something HIGH in sugar, in case your wife runs out of gas during delivery. We had a supply of Snicker's chocolate bars, which my wife inhaled during delivery of the first - but avoided during the second. Do NOT ask me how she ate a chocolate bar, while exhausted and out of gas during the first delivery - sheer willpower I suppose.

Now for some general statistics on baby farms in Kunming - as i was asked to study this issue for a potential health care project several years ago.

1. Most hospitals in Yunnan can NOT practice Evidence Based Medicine. That requires an IT system. Each hospital issues you a paper book and THAT is your EBM. Computer systems rare communicate, so bring a LARGE A4 sized ziplock thing to hold all your papers, receipts, etc. Most maternity wards have computer systems dedicated to maternity patients - so EBM can be practiced locally - if that sort of thing is important to you.
2. You will be subjected (as you already know) to a battery of standardized and frequently non-sensical tests. This is NOT individualized attention, customized for you. These are baby birthing machines - you're in a farm. If you want customization and that warm touchy-feely thing - not gonna get that here UNLESS you have a personal relationship with a hospital staffer in that hospital AND they come to see you DAILY.
3. Most major hospitals in Kunming have at least 1,000 bed for inpatients and see roughly 2000-3000 outpatients daily (whether they're the same people or new patients - don't know - didn't get that far or that deep into the outpatient registration system). This is overwhelming and staggering for most westerners to comprehend, much less consider. The largest hospital I ever worked at was Tripler Army Medical Hospital (TAMH) in Hawaii. It had over 200 beds and was the largest US military hospital in the Asia Pacific Rim - to include the US Army hospitals in Okinawa, Seoul, Guam and the US Naval Hospital in Tokyo (Yokosuka). Kunming has several hospitals that eclipse all of those operations on an inpatient/outpatient headcount basis.

Many of the old institutional Kunming hospitals built new facilities near the edge of town - Paneling, Chenggong, etc - with an additional 1-2k bed capability (maternity notwithstanding), while maintaining their old hospitals - bringing their inpatient bed capacities up to 2-3k beds per major institution. That is staggering and is the reason why you don't get customized VIP care unless you PAY for it.

The hospital I mentioned is a focused maternity and pediatric hospital, so if you're looking to give birth in Kunming AND your wife and your family have NO adverse medical conditions or histories - you MAY want to consider a hospital focused on maternity services - but it's a farm. You can get increasing VIP services based on a tiered payment structure. I opted to pay an extra ¥200 a day (didn't tell the wife) for the 4 bed room. The other bay had 6-8 beds and was NOISY. Our room was noisy too - just not as...

There were even more expensive VIP rooms (I did NOT notice single bed suites) with 2-3 beds - but I figured the wife would notice that and lambaste me for the unnecessary expense...forever.

3. CASH. Unless you have public health insurance AND "the card" - you'll need to bring CASH and keep good records on the receipts for post-reimbursement (good luck with that). We were surprised - natural childbirth still only cost us less than CNY 5k - although we were prepared for c-section births (CNY 10-15k) and beyond, just in case - but we escaped without incident.

There's a LOT of administerium that goes into giving birth in China. If your wife is from Kunming or Yunnan - that makes it easier. My wife is not - that makes it administratively painful.

You'll need to go to the Kunming City Government's designated hospital (Dongfang Lu?) to "get permission" to have a baby, if your wife is Chinese. Don't know about foreigners.

AFTER you give birth - you'll need to come back to the birth hospital to register the baby's name and your particulars for the official fancy looking birth certificate, which they'll put into a nice looking folder. My childrens' birth certificates were better packaged in China than my university diploma - some BS about budget cuts.

There are a battery of follow-on vaccinations that you'll need to go through - and that's another debate about publicly debunked but lingering fears over vaccinating children before two years old. Once your child is pre-school age - ALL your vaccinations will need to be current.

I chose to wait until our kids were two, before putting them through the battery of exams - but we don't interact publicly and are isolationists. Your milage may vary. Although our family knew the wife was pregnant - I didn't tell anyone the delivery date or make any announcements until long after we were home. My wife of course notified her immediate family - all living in other distant provinces - extremely low probability of any of them coming to visit.

The risk is negligible and remains professionally unfounded - but professional and professional studies can mean many things, depending on the authors and who funded the studies. You make your own decisions. There was a big fuss in California because of an outbreak of MMR (measles, mumps, and rubellum) from unvaccinated children - but this parents were foolishly interacting regularly and publicly with others and other children.

Like I said - we're isolationists (aka very private people) - nobody comes to our home to visit, aside from some rural relatives - and even when they came to visit (on another family issue) - my wife hid out in the bedroom with the newborn.

Now for the bizarre - the docs said women shouldn't shower or bathe for 30 days after birth (although they must wash and douche? regularly after birth, to CAREFULLY wash away blood and debris from the delivery. There will be probably stitching and sutures along the vaginal canal, following your wife's birth - especially if it's a difficult delivery.

My wife won't wash her hair - but she'll do her face (of course) and feet - not even a sponge body bath. If your wife is religious about this - look forwards to a grimy wife for a month.

You SHOULD have baby washing things - shampoo, SEVERAL soft and absorbent towels and a space heater (winter's coming). I installed a heater in the bathroom for the first kid. The second gets the benefit of a warm pre-heated bathroom before and during bathing. We had a really good (rare) ayi working with us a few months before delivery (to screen out the BAD ayis) and had her move in with us for a month, to assist with post natal care things - mostly cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, and occasionally watching the newborn.

EVERYONE at the maternity hospital (including us) had a bag of solid reddish briquettes, which melt into hot water to form a soup base. Your wife will eat this protein rich concoction, which YOU will learn to prepare, for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, to include snacks whenever she's hungry. You'll need a light cooking pot for soups, a full tray of fresh eggs (yes - there are also harmful if not poisonous fake eggs in China - beware), an insulated soup bowl (we used a double walled stainless steel thing), a soup spoon, and a ladle for stirring the soup.

You'll also need some tissues (same ones for feeding the baby), maybe some paper towels, a sponge to wash things and dish soap. I also bought a steel wool thing to clean the communal sink - as someone came into use our bathroom - looked like a flock of seagulls hit the bathroom after she left - sink had flecks of eggs and soup stock strewn all over it - some people and their children.

Our communal bathroom for we eight (four wives, four husbands plus surrogates) was also used by escapees from the higher density wards - showering, brushing teeth, and toilet things...oh...bring your own toilet paper. As we had an ample supply (think at least THREE 80 tissue packs) of baby wet wipes...you can optionally skip the toilet paper. Kunming Chinese generally chuck their waste toilet paper in the trash...NOT flush it.

Anyway - that's probably more info that you asked for. Hospitals are hit and miss unless you have exercise some kind of relationship. I chose to NOT do that both times. We're very low key, private people (blogs aside).

If you want the warm feeling of western hospitals - you'll need to pay for it one way or another. It's a little late for this - but as a Chinese citizen - your wife "should" have applied for having a baby insurance (like the economy - china also tries to "plan" its babies). We didn't bother as my wife is out of state and her insurance refused to reimburse us for the first, so we elected to pay for it ourselves and screw the insurance for the second.

We could NEVER afford this in the USA, without comprehensive health care insurance. I also don't know if Obamacare covers all, part, or no maternity. Don't care - we'll never use it and we're not eligible anyway.

So - that was briefly our experience with two births, same hospital. I saw a disturbing change in the level of care from both the nursing staff AND the physicians - but nobody died while we were there (unlike Richmond). I was introduced to Richmond when I first arrived in KM. It was a rather empty place, ostensibly because of the cost. Money doesn't necessarily buy quality of care - just nominal english speakers.

If you're interested in considering the baby farm we used - let me know and i'll go dig out the chinese name & address etc. I believe they're also listed in the gokm listings for hospitals.


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