2:21 PM

Maternity Care in Yokosuka, Japan

I had my first official OB appointment today with the doctor. I was a bit hesitant at first because I have heard a number of stories from those who aren't as pro-active as me & those who are. Some have been good while others have been horrible.

I wanted to clear up any hesitations that you might also be having about delivering your baby in Yokosuka, Japan. Maybe I just had a really great OB today, but I find some ease in my future care. I have had every questioned answered & then some. Let me try to break some of your hesitations or myths you have heard:

I Get NO Say In My Care: FALSE! Actually, I was told today that NOTHING is mandatory. You have the right to refuse any care or procedure. However, the OB also has the right to walk away from your care & hand your case to another physician if they feel that they are risking themselves professional or morally. That's fair, right? I thought so! So I now back into the scale to avoid having to see what my weight is as a compromise between what I want & what they need. And you are allowed to question any & everything. Just be sure when you question that you keep your ears, mind, & heart open to what they are telling you. You might miss something that is "logical" & "medically necessary".
There is NO Intermittent Monitoring Available: FALSE! There is & it is available. It just depends on you, baby & where you are in the process when you check in. If you check in & there is no distress to either you or baby, you are actually encouraged to walk about & only get intermittent monitoring. Internal Monitoring is only performed when there is a medical necessity but it is not routine.

I Will Be Forced to Get An Episiotony: FALSE! No doctors here perform them as routine labor & delivery care. The ONLY time that an episiotomy is performed is if it is medically necessary to get a baby in distress out quickly in order to save the child's life. This practice supports many current (as in the last century) studies supporting that a "tear" is easier on the body & will heal faster than a "cut" through the entire muscle. Also, vacuums & forceps are not used either. There is only a few doctors who use one or the other, but some may have been trained but have never had to use either.

I Will Be Forced to Deliver On My Back: FALSE! The beds here are designed to adjust to allow you to deliver in any number of positions from all fours, to a sitting position. This is great news to support those who have done their reading & has arrived at the same conclusion in regards to the laws of gravity. They also have birthing balls, birthing poles/rods, mirrors, etc.

I Cannot Have A Written Birth Plan: FALSE! Actually, they again encourage you to write out your birth plan since you will be attended to whichever OB is on call when you enter that delivery room. All that they ask is that you first write it up weeks before your due date & go over it with your OB to make sure that what you are asking is allowed by the hospital or can be performed by all OB's. This helps prevent from any misunderstandings or misconceptions during your delivery by all parties involved.
They Will "Sneak" in Pitocin No Matter What: FALSE! Pitocin is tricky, but they will first consult you with the option & why it is being recommended for use. And as I mentioned before, you still reserve the right to say, "No!".

I Cannot Have A Water Birth: TRUE! There is no facility supplies here to have a water birth. Absolutely no tubs available. So this is true. However, there are showers, they just aren't in the labor & delivery room. Plus, once your water has broke, they don't want you in the water due to possible infection. Some OB's in the States may not have this concern, however, here the water is a little questionable at times.
If I Refuse Pain Medication I Then Have NO Other Options: FALSE! There are many options available besides the spinal block or epidural. They even offer hot/cold back therapies, breathing, meditation, narcotics, some nerve numbing shot, etc. You are allowed your own music even, but you have to supply the music & if it is an iPod, the ability to play that iPod as well.

There Are No Pictures or Videos: FALSE/TRUE! You are allowed to take photos & video. However, it is against hospital policy to video record any procedure & a vaginal birth is still considered a "procedure". Some OB's might allow you to video part of the birth from the mother's point of view but not from the doctor's point of view. You will also need to make sure all equipment is cord free in case their is an emergency that arises. They don't want to be worried about equipment in the midst of worrying about lives. In a corner you can plug something in to charge but you can't be using the cord to keep power to the equipment when you are using it.

I hope that this helps anyone like me who was really leery & hesitant of delivering their child in Japan. This is our first & I was very set on a home birth with a midwife. However, this is not an option here in Japan due to many issues including how the Japanese respond to 911 (119) calls for Americans.