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Saturday, March 19, 2011

Giving Birth in HKG

There are a few people who have asked me why we gave birth in HKG.
The usual side comment are:
  • why go that far when you have everything and everyone in MNL to help you?
  • it's going to be more expensive there, why do it?
  • the cost would be double if you are not based there since you would need to have two doctors monitoring you?
  • isn't it too much of a hassle?
The above comments are valid but I would believe that E and I did it because we would want to give our baby the option of another life outside of MNL. An option that might be visible only too far down the road so if we, as parents, can do it, why not?
Also our decision's end result may not flourish now but it will later on ~ "hassles" are only a temporary thing...C will surely thank us for it.

Giving birth abroad...some Traveling Abroad Reminders
  1. Pregnancy women should bring as much documentation as possible regarding their own medical history and antenatal care that they have received during their pregnancies. This documentation should include details of all tests and scans carried out during the pregnancy as well as any medications prescribed for the mother or any instances in which bed rest was advised. Women who plan to travel abroad to give birth should also advise their doctors and midwives of this as early as possible so that all required information can be collected before its time to travel.

  2. Ensure you place all important documents in your handbag or hand carry bag since you might be asked in various airport gates of clarification and confirmation. Never in your check-in luggage. When in doubt, bring ALL.

  3. Choose an appropriate itinerary. It is not recommended that pregnancy women fly more than three hours when they travel to give birth abroad. It is also not recommended that such women then travel for mor than three hours when they land (such as by car, bus or train). With these guidelines in mind, women should strive to find a travel schedule that will not over-tax their bodies, make them travel too close to the due date or restrict the items (for themselves or their babies) that they can bring with them as luggage.

  4. Elect an appropriate facility in which to give birth abroad is important - if possible, women should be in contact with a doctor or clinic prior to leaving home so that it is known that they will be giving birth and can be put on the "schedule". Women should look for facilities large enough to accommodate any emergencies that could arise, or for facilities known to deal well with any other factors (the birth of multiples, water births, etc). Family and friends who live in the area where a woman will give birth can be a great resource when it comes time to pick a facility and doctor.

  5. Women who give birth abroad will receive a birth certificate from that country but will need to register their child's birth with the British authorities. There are some exclusions to this rule, however, as there are some countries in which foreign births can not be registered. Women should check with the British authorities in that country to find out more about registering a birth abroad.
    For more information about Secondary Citizenship Queries, please refer here.

  6. Women interested in giving birth abroad should make this decision as early as possible to give themselves the greatest amount of time to organize their travel and medical plans. Plan early and do inform the airline carrier of your condition to check what is each carrier's pregnancy regulations. Note that as you wait longer in your term to fly, the heavier and harder on yourself it will be.
Midwife IPuiYi) or Newborn Nanny or none?
Warning: If they will want a midwife, they have to start searching (it might be too late since a friend of mine started calling on her 4th month and had some trouble picking the right midwife for them) because good and decently priced midwives are a premium. They are being snapped up like hot pancakes. It's also aluxury to have one since the price is high depending on experience and expectations.


the GOOD...
(1) trained/licensed professional ~ a midwife is licensed to take care of the baby and the mom. She cooks, cleans and takes care of both persons so it makes it a lot easier on the mother-in-laws, husbands. She can be given a budget to buy groceries to cook for the mom. Note that she cooks gelai items more and might look stricter than a mother-in-law but the mom can say no to her compared to a mother-in-law.

(2) the experience ~ our midwife taught us so many things that even the other blogs didn't tell us like how to effectively bath a baby, what to do during feedings (not to have him sleep on you so you wouldn't waste so much time of him latched on to you), baby sleep, etc.

(3) the baths!!! ~ Cantonese gelai allows for baths and the midwife can prepare ginger bath water for use as often as the mom wants though I went through two weeks of no bathing just selective washings to still go through the gelai.

the BAD...
(1) the price ~ our midwife is only on a 8hour shift so it's more like 10am to 7pm. She goes home and it's normally the evenings that are tougher...though that's why you get them in the mornings since you're tired and sleepy and would try to catch up on sleep. You can hire them for two shifts - 24/7 service but note the price.

(2) the conflicts ~ there might be conflicting gelai items between Canto vs MNL Chinese styles, etc.

(3) the language barrier ~ not a lot of midwives in HKG speak fluent English. Some hardly utter a word of English though there are some with decent vocabulary. You might have to be patient in finding an English speaking one since most of the ones we were referred to were Canto speaking. (In our case, we didn't mind since E knows a bit more and E's side of the family can communicate for us if we can't.)

My advice...since a midwife normally just stays with you for a month or two, it would be good to have a Newborn nanny already with you also since the midwife will teach or coach the Newborn nanny to continue on and assist you.

For those who would be interested - our PuiYi's name is Ying Jie (Mandarin for "English") - 852.9656.5158, if your are interested. Tell her that you were recommended by Wong Sin Sang or Cheryl Wong.
Note: she doesn't speak much English; speaks mostly Cantonese and a bit of Mandarin only.

HKG Doctors...
I love the doctors in HKG. Pricey but professional. I surely miss Colin's pediatrician since he's so close to the house and very easy to talk to. Love him and my OB who's a wonderful man.
If we are to be blessed again and to give birth in HKG, we hope to have both professionals on our side :)

OB: Dr Eric Lee (Central District)
Office: Room 1501, 15/F, Prince's Building, 10 Chater Road, Central
Tel No: 852.2521.2567
Assistant: Connie

Pediatrician: Dr Vincent Chan (Causeway Bay District)
Office: 2607 Hang Lung Centre, 2 - 22 Patterson Street, Causeway Bay
Tel No: 852.2894.8445

With regards to tips, there are a lot but some are below:

Most important places to get baby supplies in HKG...
  • Eugene Club @Central (next to H&M) and Windsor House; Bumps to Babies (Shanghai Tang Building); Marks & Spencer (Central); SOGO department stor (baby/kids section)

  • Baby Photography:
    (1) Michelle Garthe (Colin's photographer)**
    **studio is @ her home but she can also go to your home but with a small fee; more stylized photos; took Colin's photo @ 11 days old

    (2) Cheeky Monkey***
    ***no studio but no fee for any location around HK; more natural photos

  • Diaper Rash Cure:-Mustela's Vitamin Barrier Cream ~ Mustela products (full range) is located in Sogo's 6/F. There's also a Mustela Shop in Shop 220-1 The Galleria 9 Queen's Road, Central HK. If you purchase 5k in one receipt, you get to have a lifetime Mustela discount card. I prefer this than the US' Desitin due to it being better smelling.

  • Baby Wipes Alternatives:
    (1) water and cotton ~ Tenson Baby Cotton Wipes replace cotton balls and make it easier to use than cutting up cotton rolls, available @Eugene Club
    (2) If you need to use wet wipes for convenience especially when out, please ensure the wipes you use wipes with no alcohol. Colin uses Pigeon Baby Wipes and comes highly recommended.

  • Baby Carrier: Combi Magic Compact ~ This is a great carrier since it's used for newborns until 2 years old! We used this to bring Colin back to MNL.

  • Where to Breastfeed and Change Baby ~ follow here (credit to Geobaby's La Leche League HKG)

  • I blogged more on my HKG/Chinese Confinement Regiment here.
Baby Supplies and such in MNL...
  • Baby Supplies: Baby Company (various locations like Rockwell, SM Makati)

  • For Breastfeeding/Pre-natal Classes:
    (1) Lactation Coach (i went to this coach)*: Zeny C. Feliciano
    (2) Birthing Coach - Chiqui Brosas (we went to this one)
    *Both can do one-on-one appointments/sessions

  • Breast pumps:- Medela Swing Pump: My mom bought my Medela pump @ Wing-On. You can price compare versus delivery price also.

  • Milk storage plastics: Playtex Standard Pre-sterilized Disposable Liners

  • Baby Bottle Soap (MNL - far cheaper than Pigeon and works even better)
    Karen Lopez
    You can also email her at
    - she has a store opening in Shangri-la but can do home pick-ups either in QC or Makati

  • Nursing Wears:
    Cher @ Plumeshop
    Sherry @ Contour / Hip Moms and Babies
    Au Lait Nursing Wear
    - a Singapore store/brand
    Latch Wear
    - a friend's shop

  • Diaper Rash Cure: Desitin

  • Clothing Brands (department stores/boutiques): Enfant (SM Megamall, Rustan's) especially the bottoms since the garter is specially suited for enfants; Tiny Tummies (SM Megamall), GAP (Bonifacio High Street) ~ wait for sales!

  • Baby Cloths ~ outlet:
    (1) BlueParasol Inc
    Address: 58 Unit 3, Victoria Ave, New Manila, QC (two blocks away from Pizza Hut Bistro, street across St. Luke's Hospital QC)
    Tel: 632.571.8576
    Look for: Maila / Ina
    Items sold: RL/Polo, Carter's, Gerber, etc

    (2) Hello Baby / Carter's Outlet
    Address: 43 Zodiac Street Bel Air Makati
    Tel: 632.896.4802
    How to get there, if coming from EDSA, turn right to Buendia then right again after the Shell station, you’ll go straight to the Bel-air gate. That’s already Zodiac St. go straight and find number 48 to your left. The storage room is at the back of the house. Just enter the premises and follow the arrow to lead you to the back. You might want to call first to ask what their new arrivals are.
    Items sold: really cheap mittens/booties/hats/towels/receiving blankets/bibs, etc by Carter's, etc

  • Breastfeeding Tips:
    Freezing Breastmilk
Other items...
The above is more for the mom and the baby in HK.
There are other items that parents need to think about aside from the birth and baby's health like the legal side of things i.e. filing baby's birth certificate, permanent resident card, passport, etc.

I found number of good sites with a concise research on being pregnant, giving birth and up to registration with the Hong Kong government:
Please note that if your baby is a Phil citizen (i.e. both parents are Filipinos) like us, you would need to register your baby @ the Philippine embassy within thirty (30 days) of birth so they would send the details to NSO else you would have to file a Late Registration of Live Birth. This would hinder/delay your baby's passport processing.


cris said...

I guess where you want to give birth is always the choice of the parents. I have friends who choose to give birth in the States naman. And as you've said their primary reason is for their child to have a choice in the future. :)

Chinachix said...

Hi Cheryl! Amazing you were able to remember alot of details of your birthing process. Mine's more a blur LOL.

I didn't realize they have newborn nannies in HKG. Much like baby nurses in the US...?

Hope all is well. And that you are enjoying motherhood even if (in my opinion, that is), the first 6 months can be very challenging.