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Hospital recommendations for giving birth

tigertigerathome (164 posts) • +1

From my own experience I can see the healthcare in the large cities has improved dramatically in the last 10 years. Not only access to newer treatments, and standards of wards, but there has been a huge government crackdown on pharmaceutical and other costs, as well as corruption within some hospitals. One of the big hospital heads in Kunming was brought to book a few years ago.

TwoBirds (3 posts) • +1

In answer to Judy's question, when we gave birth at Angel Hospital 3 and a half years ago, I remember that my husband brought like 30,000-35,000 rmb in a bag to the hospital on the day I gave birth. For some reason he couldn't use a debit card (I think because of the foreign name.). Also, we had some kind of British (We're Americans.) insurance at the time and everyone was very gracious about filling out paperwork for every visit. Our Chinese was relatively low and they provided a translator who was often available through the whole experience. At one point during delivery I was surprised to notice that she was holding my hand (The one my husband wasn't holding.).

I will note that while preparing for birth there I did also go to the little international clinic and consulted with an American doctor too. He told me things like, "No, don't do moxibustion to turn the baby (when he was breech early on)" and "No, don't take those pills to stop contractions in month 7 ("That's not really how those pills are supposed to be used.")." When I got a stomach virus early in pregnancy (camphylobacter), I texted him my symptoms and he prescribed an international antibiotic. I went down to my apartment's pharmacy, picked it right up, and recovered. So, the American doctor was helpful in many ways, but my experience at Angel was also extremely positive.

I think that if this is your first pregnancy and/or your Chinese isn't so good, you may face some difficulties, but you'd likely have hardships in HK too. For example, I wasn't able to attend childbirth classes easily at Angel since they were in Chinese.

I'll tell you that I did have some small problems after birth and I think that more clear communication would have been helpful.

For example, at Angel they were eager to make special western food for me after delivery- like steak. They kept asking why I wasn't eating much. I was very weak and just smiled and told them it was good.

It was because sitting up was painful and tiring. Most likely the amount of bleeding I experienced afterwards was atypical... sitting up was making me bleed more I figured out much later. If someone had figured it out and suggested I lay on my side that would have been helpful.

I don't think it was Angel's fault (I've read about it since online.), but the dissolvable stitches I received (while vomiting) didn't dissolve (It happens to some women in the west too.). The result was a very painful infection. (TMI alert) When I went for follow up more than 40 days after delivery, the rotting stitches were removed without any kind of pain relief (though I requested it)

- from the infected area. It was with some difficulty that I hobbled out of Angel that day.

Compared to some birth difficulties I feel these were relatively minor.

My baby received international vaccines afterwards, I got a lot of pampering, the ayi/baomu helpers for the next couple of days at the hospital were quite useful, and I will always be grateful.

I did go to the American doctors again a couple of times for help with my baby; they taught me the importance of burping the baby to promote good breathing, for example.

We had to fly to Chengdu to get the passport to register in Kunming before 60 days ended. I wasn't physically (still bleeding) or emotionally prepared for that trip. Pete's Tex Mex near the embassy let us camp out there for several hours though (even napping) and that was so helpful.

All in all, I recommend Angel Hospital compared to traveling to some other place, like HK or Thailand. You have to decide if the disruption of relocating for a little more English is worth it. I

felt like a princess in a palace at Angel- which is what I needed when I gave birth for the first time. You will get a little less privacy (They took pictures while my baby was being born. Once I fell asleep while nursing exposed. When I woke, there was a bunch of people in the room asking me some kind of question in Chinese. I told them feebly to come back when my husband was in the room to ask him instead.). If you live in Kunming as an expat, you're probably kind of used to such things though.
Angel is very attentive.

Mario007 (42 posts) • 0

Hey does anyone have any other recommendations apart from Angel? I went to see Angel the other day and to be honest it all looks really good, but the price is a bit too high so want to look around still.

We also went to the Kunming Maternity and Infant hospital as we heard they have a VIP department there but it turns out to just be a 'you pay a bit more and there's a nurse who helps you line up until it's your turn to see the doctor'. Are there any hospitals in Kunming that actually have a proper VIP department?

JanJal (1199 posts) • 0

I'm not sure what qualifies as "proper VIP" for you, but I would suggest to settle to any medically qualified maternity hospital that can arrange private room where not only your wife, but also you can sleep the couple of nights prior to delivery if needed - if that's what you want of course.

Mario007 (42 posts) • 0

My wife and I ended up choosing Angel for all our pregnancy tests and giving birth. We went to many hospitals all around Kunming and eventually settled on Angel.

I think Angel is probably the best choice in Kunming but it is far from being good when compared to not only international standards but also even Chinese standards from tier 1 and tier 2 cities.

First of all you can forget about being able to book an appointment at Angel. Everything is done in the standard, get a registration number (挂号) and then wait till it's your turn system. Prior to paying for the VIP at Angel the sales service told us you can get an appointment and you wouldn't have to wait but that's a lie. Even if they manage to book an appointment for you all it means is that at that time you come to the hospital, still need to 挂号 and wait. Today we were told to come at 1.30 to see the doctor, it's already 2.45 and were nowhere near to seeing her at all.

My wife is Chinese and my Chinese skills are pretty okay so we don't have a translator. However once the doctors see my wife being Chinese instead of the standard mandarin they start speaking to her in Kunming dialect and for the life of

them even when asked won't go back to mandarin. It's really frustrating as basically I'm sitting there not understanding a word that the doctors are saying and having my wife needing to translate everything. My wife also isn't from Kunming so she's not particularly happy listening to the doctor talking to her about her pregnancy in Kunming dialect.

The man is also not allowed to see the baby's ultrasound. Almost all the private hospitals in Kunming allow for thean to at least see the video of the ultrasound in a separate room. When I asked about it at Angel they said because of COVID the man is not allowed to see the ultrasound. I tried to explain that that doesn't make sense but was simply told it is what it is because of COVID.

The worst thing, however, is the service and way you are treated. My wife received a call last week telling her to go immediately to the hospital and do a blood test. When she explained she was at work and might have to come a bit later the woman on the phone got angry and demanded she'd get to angel within the hour. My wife contacted the sales rep in charge of us who told her the lady on the phone was now having lunch so we'll have to wait till her lunch break is over to see what's going on. In about five minutes my wife received another call from a different women accusing my wife of losing her blood test results (impossible as at Angel you don't take any results yourself, all is kept by the hospital nurses and doctors). She said we need to do this blood test again and that it's really urgent. My wife went to the hospital wanting to figure out what actually happened. The sales rep told her to do the blood tests first and then they'd investigate so she did just that. In the process she was given out to by another doctor for having a high blood pressure and coming to the do test, accusing her of not calming down first and then taking the test. After the tests were done we didn't hear anything back about the situation and what actually happened or even what was the blood test for.

Again I truly believe we'd probably have an even worse experience in other hospitals in Kunming. However it feels really frustrating getting this kind of service for the money paid where it seems that all the doctors want from you is to help them do their work and shut up about everything else.

misfit (113 posts) • 0

I don't really understand how somebody may think Angel would be the only place to go. When it comes to giving birth I think the main concern should be doctors/staff quality and experience, there are many options in a city of 7 millions people where everyday many of them give birth smoothly.

I know that it may sound strange to some expats, but locals also look for quality, no matter how rich or poor they are when it comes to such an important day Chinese people (in particular) will pay the money to have the best experience. If Angel or other fancy hospitals for foreigners are not so popular here there should be a reason. There is a high number of wealthy people in Kunming, if many of them eventually decide not going there the reason probably isn't the price.
Like everywhere, I guess the best would be ask more local people about it, collect their feedbacks and finally choose according to that.

JanJal (1199 posts) • 0

@Misfit:

I dare to say that there is a cultural(?) difference in what sort of quality average Chinese vs average foreign, let's say consumer, is looking for. Even more so in matters of services related to life and death as is case in delivering babies.

misfit (113 posts) • 0

@JanJal
To answer that question just google maternal mortality rate.
US (2020) --> 23.8 fatalities per 100000 live births
China (2020) --> 16.9 fatalities per 100000 live births

www.statista.com/[...]

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