we’re now informed; a pregnancy registration experience

If truth be told, during the first few weeks of pregnancy, I had to make peace with a lot of big differences of prenatal care here in Japan as compared to western countries and in the Philippines. To name a couple, no maternity hospitals/clinics are open on Sundays (as are some other hospitals for sickness except for those hospitals designated for emergencies) and that maternity hospitals here as a general practice don’t prescribe prenatal vitamins. Yes, even folic acid.

I felt that there was disparity on how one of Japan’s most pressing problem is its ageing population owing to lower birth rates and yet we didn’t feel any government support on the pregnant population. One would have thought that Japan would step up on this pressing issue. But there seems to be no action.

Apparently though, we’re just uninformed. The Japanese government of course had already taken action. No, they don’t give out vitamins. But they give support alright.

When we visited the ob-gyn last month, we were advised to go to the ward office/city hall to register our pregnancy. I thought it’s just as brief as when we go there for alien registration which usually takes just about 10 minutes max. But it took me one hour this time! Why so?

The ward officer had to explain to me everything he gave me in this package after I had filled out the necessary forms.

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In the package, one of the things I was giggling is this.

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Supposedly I’d attach it on the sling of my bag to earn me a seat on the train. Unfortunately though, as is typical with most Japanese who doesn’t have a culture of staring at other people, most of them are so busy reading their books or with their phones that they don’t notice the woman in front of them wearing the badge. The badge only earned me a seat once. Nevertheless though, I’m happy just wearing the badge.

What the hospital really wanted me to get from the ward office though is the boshi kenko techo (母子手帳) or the Mother and Child Health Handbook.

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The ward office employee asked me if i wanted the Japanese or the English copy. Of course I chose the English one. Inside the book are pages used to contain information of your history prior to pregnancy, your record during pregnancy (the checkups you had, weight gain, tests you undertook and even dental checkups) and record of your baby’s health after birth (the developments, the immunizations administered).

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Since it contains all the record of the immunizations of the baby, obviously I need to keep this handbook with me until baby is well into kindergarten. Or thereabouts.

The guidebook that came with it was really helpful. It showed some advise on how to take care of yourself during pregnancy, your diet, who to ask for help in your area etc.

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I was most thankful though on the section which tells about the law and your rights at work.

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It was clearly stated that it is prohibited by law to dismiss from work or discriminate pregnant women or women who gave birth. They even gave a contact number if in case you meet some problems.

The government really had to take care of that fact. Otherwise they’d find themselves in a worse predicament than they are now what with women deciding to work instead for self fulfillment.

Now this is sweet. The guy in the ward office gave me these two pads.

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The one in the left I should bring with me during my prenatal visits. This booklet contain slips of ¥4700, ¥7000 and ¥12000 which will subsidize the expenses incurred during our checkups. In our last checkup two weeks ago, I had to take all the routine tests. And even with our company insurance and the ¥12,000 slip, we still ended up paying ~¥10,000. So really, the subsidies helped. Without the ¥12k slip, we would have had paid ¥22,000!

The other booklet on the right contain slips for every immunization that baby needs. I just take out one slip designated for a particular immunization and baby would get it for free.

These two booklets however are given only once so if you loose it, you can’t ask for another one again.

By the way. These subsidies are only acknowledged in hospitals in our area or in some hospitals outside Yokohama which are approved by the Yokohama city government. Meaning i can’t use these slips in Tokyo if ever I decide to have my checkups there. The same goes for Tokyo-issued boshi techo and subsidy slips.

I was also advised on the parenting and birth classes available in the area and the schedule. They have no English classes however. I just might have to request hubby to translate during the class! Haha. I’m still hoping though we’d catch an English class, even if it’s in Tokyo.

I was also advised that once I’ve given birth, we should register the birth within two weeks so that baby and mommy can enjoy more privileges (will share more next time).

Anyways, the government does care after all. 🙂

Excited to see baby again on the monitor in our next prenatal visit! Hope you’re growing healthy and fine baby.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. leadeleon
    Mar 28, 2012 @ 20:35:58

    This is so cool!

    Reply

Thanks for the comment! :)

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