This article continues from Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth in Japan | Part-1. In Part-1, we introduce the general flow of pregnancy and childbirth here in Japan. If you haven’t read it yet, read Part-1 first.
What should I prepare before giving birth?
There are two main things you need to prepare: “items you need during your stay in the hospital” and “items for the newborn baby”.
Items you need during your stay in the hospital
(button-down ones that fully open in the front)
- Open-crotch postpartum underwear (産褥ショーツ)
- Maternity pads(お産用パッド)
(Most clinics provide them, but I ran out of them, so I recommend that you prepare some by yourself, too.)
- Nursing pads(母乳パッド)
(small ones and bath towels)
(Shampoo, hair treatment, toothbrush, toothpaste, hair brush, lip balm, lotion, etc.)
- Baby’s underwear and clothes
- Diapers (newborn or size S)
*Generally, you will stay in the hospital after delivery for about 5 or 6 days in case of natural birth and 7 days in case of a cesarean section.
*Each hospital has different supplies, so talk to your midwife or nurse about what you need to prepare in advance.
Items for the newborn baby
- Car safety seat
(Even newborns need a car seat [for infants] when riding in a car, even when leaving the clinic. Taxis are permitted to carry children without a car seat. So you can use it without preparing a car seat.)
- Baby’s underwear and clothes
- Nursing pillow
(You can use a normal pillow or cushion instead, but it’s easier to use a nursing one.)
- Bedding for the baby (The mattress should be firm and flat.)
- Baby wipes
- Baby bathtub and seat
- Bath towels for baby
- Baby wash & shampoo
- Baby cotton gauze handkerchiefs
- Baby nail clippers or scissors
- Baby thermometer
- Baby moisturizing cream
These are the items I was glad to have prepared before childbirth. There are many other items that I also have purchased, but now I think that I could have prepared the rest of the items after the baby was born. (I bought an expensive multifunctional baby crib, but my son never slept on it…)
Nowadays, you can buy things online whenever you want, so you may want to keep your initial purchases to the bare minimum and buy more after you see what your baby likes.
You can also rent baby items such as car seats and baby baths. I rented a baby highchair from this website.
Nice baby(Japanese only)
Frequently Asked Questions
Can international students have prenatal checkups as well?
Yes. The Japanese law on pregnancy and childbirth, “the Maternal and Child Health Act”, applies to all people who are pregnant in Japan, regardless of nationality or status of residence. You can receive prenatal checkups in the same way as Japanese people.
However, in the case of international students, you may not be able to attend enough days due to pregnancy or childbirth and your status of residence may be revoked. When you find out you are pregnant, notify your school and the Immigration Bureau as soon as possible. It is a good idea to consult with your school first.
I’m worried about pregnancy and childbirth in a foreign country (Japan)… Where can I get advice?
First of all, you should consult with the city office (ward office).
They may have a multilingual consultation team, or they may be able to introduce you to volunteer interpreters or interpretation services available. You can also consult the city office (ward office) about your financial situation.
In addition, if you have Japanese friends or friends who can speak Japanese, it is important to ask them for support.
If the company finds out I’m pregnant, will they fire me?
No. The law prohibits firing an employee or expelling a student from school because of pregnancy or childbirth. You can continue to work or go to school before and after you have a baby if you wish.
If you want to continue working after childbirth, tell your boss about your pregnancy and discuss how you will work before and after the birth. Note that in Japan, you are basically not allowed to work from six weeks before the due date until eight weeks after childbirth in order to protect the mother’s body.
When you find out you’re pregnant, you have more things to worry about: your baby, your body, and your life ahead.
Through this article, we hope you will find that there are always people and organizations who can help you and feel a little more relaxed about your maternity life.
It may take some time to find the right one, but there are many places you can consult: OB/GYN, city office, your boss, your teacher, your friends. You can start by talking to someone you feel relaxed and comfortable talking to.
Whether it is a wanted or unwanted pregnancy, with or without residency status, you don’t have to worry alone. Please take full benefit of the various supports available to you. Your physical and mental health matter the most.
We wish you health and joy as you welcome your new baby!