a Baby in China
| This page is primarily intended for
those couples who are not native Chinese citizens.
It is geared towards one person being a full Chinese
National, and the other a foreigner.
Chinese holding a foreign passport are also included,
such as ABC's, BBC's and CBC's (American, British and
Canadian - Born Chinese). This information is also valid
if both parents are foreigners living or working in
1. A full range of childbirth related
services are readily available in any Hospital in China.
These include: delivery and immediate aftercare, plus
pre natal and post natal consultations (if you ask and
pay for them separately).
2. Special "Women's hospitals"
are also common in cities, and offer a full range of
modern support services and their Chinese medicine equivalents.
3. You will have to pay for this, either
in cash or via medical insurance. Expect childbirth
to cost Y3, 000 which you will pay up-front and before
delivery. Ours cost half this, and we received the change
4. The minimum stay in hospital is
three full days. This will be extended if their is the
slightest concern for either newborn or mother. Both
will be expected to stay in hospital until the problem
is rectified or identified.
5. Men are not allowed anywhere near
the delivery room - and I got chased out with a broom
when I tried!
6. Post delivery - and you personally
wheel your wife or newborn to the afterbirth corridor,
which contains many small rooms with maximum occupancy
of 3 beds in each + a separate toilet without shower,
but with many taps. Our room also had cable TV installed
+ several chairs for guests, tables, bedside units,
and another unit for storing personal belongings. It
may be different in another hospital, I do not know.
However, there does not appear to be a general 'Ward'
as such. The Father and perhaps a close friend for translations,
will be expected to stay and look after the immediate
needs of wife and baby.
On the second night we found out that rather than doze
in an uncomfortable chair, we could for a paltry sum
have an extra camp bed added to the room for my use
(Nighttimes only). The standard size costs Y8 (say $1)
per night, but I am a big man, so had a different version
of 3/4 size for Y15. There are odd and occasional charges
like cleaning or similar = Y30 for the duration of stay.
Basic food is available at mealtimes from a trolley
in the corridor outside - which you have to walk to
as there appears to be no delivery service to bedside;
and is of high nutritional value, and little appeal.
My dear friend Paul Yuan brought in all my wife's food
during her stay. There will be a Thermos flask of boiled
water by the bed, and this can be refilled in a room
set aside for the purpose in the corridor outside. You
will need to do this yourself.
You will be thinking this a tad strange already? Well,
on the other side, the hospital provides free of charge:
1 x plastic bowl (16 inches across, by 8 inches high),
a bar of carbolic soap, a mini-duvet which the baby
is wrapped in immediately after being born, a small
hand towel. There were a few other incidentals also.
These are all yours to keep, or you can return them
as you wish.
Note: The hospital will not provide nappies (Diapers)
or baby clothes - this is up to you to arrange!
7. Visiting Hours. Generally there are no official
hours and people can come and go 24/7. There are certain
times each morning when all men are asked to leave the
room for say 20 minutes.This is around 9 to 10 am, and
just after Doctors Rounds = quite a civilised time of
8. The service offered is excellent
and available 24 / 7 / 365. Keep any paperwork you are
given safe, as you will need to show some of these pieces
of paper at a later date.
9. Birth Certificate Issue
The Doctor in charge will issue the Birth Certificate,
which you must keep safe. You will need this later to
register the birth officially!
The Birth Certificate will be issued about 40 days after
the first working day, after your child's birth.
to the Hospital were the child was born. The Doctor
will probably be available Monday to Saturday
between 8am and Midday, and between 2pm and 6pm.
2. For mixed race couples, allow
at least 1-hour for the Certificate to be issued.
Therefore you need to arrive before 11am or 5pm
3. Either parent can obtain the
Certificate. Do not expect staff to be proficient
in English language.
4. Documents required:
5. There is no charge for the
Birth Certificate (You already paid for this).
- Your Passport
- Your partner's Identity Card
- The Family Book (Hu
Kou Bu) to which the baby will be added.
- Your Chinese address in Chinese characters
- All relevant pieces of paper given you before
discharge after the birth
- The Child's name?
6. Very Important!
• Whilst the Birth Certificate
combines both Chinese and English languages on
the same form, the space allowed for the baby's
name and Parents names is not sufficient for most
English names in full. You may have to shorten
yours in some way? However, pay particular attention
to that of your baby. By using a double line entry
(Not normal practice) you can have up to 17 and
possibly 20 characters (Includes spaces between
names). You will want to ensure that 2 of the
names are complete on one line of the form. For
instance: You can have the name in a mixture of
7. Sample of a real Chinese Birth
The actual process is quite straight forward,
although it requires much checking and double
checking. Before issue you will be given a print
preview that you should thoroughly check. Once
printed, this original document cannot be altered.
It will be presented to you in a special plastic
wallet for safe-keeping.
a. Within one month of childbirth,
you should register your baby for a vaccination program
with any chosen hospital. This does not have to be the
hospital they were born in. The hospital does not have
to be in the same City District region.
b. Either parent can do this, and it
is usually done before the Birth Certificate is issued.
You will need to go to a specialised department within
the Maternity and Aftercare department - so do not join
any of the long queues in the foyer, simply ask for
c. The process of registration for
the vaccination program takes about 2 minutes, and you
will need the following:
• Baby information and documents pack, which was
given to you when being discharged from childbirth hospital.
• Either parent's Name and child's name (Either
in English or Chinese, but no other languages - at least
in Guangdong Province).
• Address in Chinese Only. Contact telephone numbers
- if you do this yourself, then add a second one for
your spouse or someone who speaks both languages.
• I was not asked to provide any identification,
such as passport etc, which is unusual in China. However,
you should do so just in case your circumstances are
different from my own. You may also wish to take your
marriage books as a precaution, and also know how to
write your spouse's name in Chinese - or show the marriage
book as in my own case.
d. You will be issued with a vaccination
booklet, and attached to the first usable page will
be the vaccination schedule for that particular hospital.
This means that on the dates specified you should take
the baby to the place that issued the booklet, for the
jab to be administered.
e. There are about 25 scheduled appointments
spanning the next 5 years or so. 75% of these are free
= all the very important ones. The others have associated
charges ranging from Y40 to Y168. Not a lot of money
- and these are optional. The charge is indicated in
the booklet, but the details are only in Chinese of
Note: I am given to understand the
3-in-1 MMR injection for Measles, Mumps and Rubella
is not standard practice in China - but please check
this information yourself if this issue is important
to you personally.
11. Insurance does exist in China, and can
be obtained locally at a fraction of the cost as compared
to oversea's providers (For use in China = they are
making a fortune out of these people!). In China full
insurance covering: Medical, Accident, Pension, etc
= as in the UK - will cost between Y300 and Y500 per
month. There are also family packages as you would expect.
These run for 15 years, after which time you remain
completely covered, but no longer have to pay a monthly
premium. I think the pension element normally begins
at age 60, but please check yourself. Now is a very
good time to buy, as I am sure this will change radically
over the coming years!
Note: A dedicated page regards Assurance
available in China is in the pipeline, and should be
available later in 2010 (Sorry, this is very technical
stuff normal translators cannot cope with).
12. Location. Decide well in advance where
the baby will be born, it matters a great deal later.
13. If you want to ease the decision
concerning your baby's nationality, we advise giving
birth in Hong Kong (But it will cost appropriately more
in cash + restrictions apply to Chinese National mothers).
14. These are facts: as my wife gave
birth to our baby on Christmas Eve 2009. She is Chinese
and I am British - Missive: 'The
Christmas Present' refers our actual experiences
at first hand.
15. Babies not for you? Abortion is
legal in China and encouraged to some extent. However,
as a direct effect of the 'One-Child Policy', you will
not be given the sex of the embryo before an abortion.
Abortion is quick and simple (I think they use the micro-surgery
technique). It is over within minutes of your pre-arranged
appointment, and just like a coffee break with friends,
you should be back at work the next day with no ill
16. When you have the baby, Chinese
friends and family will be there to support you enormously.
Expect your Chinese wife's mother to take control; and
either live with you for a month, or you live with them!
If you are a foreigner with a Chinese husband, then
expect his Mother to take over your life!
17. A new baby is the most precious
thing to any Chinese family, so appreciate their support
and concern (Even if you don't want it. I was very grateful
for their support as it happens).
I have deliberately kept this page as brief as possible
in order to present you with the important facts only.
Please contact us for more advice if you need further
Registering a Birth
- A lot to consider here for mixed-race couples!
Christmas Present' refers our personal
experiences of childbirth in China.
Check back later for more pertinent information
I have left this space to add things such as:
Baby in a Global and multicultural World
For my Daughter Rhiannon to tell her own story...
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