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About Katrina

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  1. Giving birth in any country is a momentous decision, but even more so when you are far away from home and lack access to clear information. We asked Dr. Sophia Chin, Physician Teaching Director at American-Sino OB/GYN, 8 questions about having a baby in China. 1. How long do I stay in hospital after the birth? Mothers who've had uncomplicated vaginal births will typically stay in the hospital for two nights and those who've had uncomplicated Caesarean deliveries stay three nights. 2. Will my husband be allowed in the room if the birth is a C-section? Depends on the institution’s policy but usually if the Caesarean is non-emergent then at American-Sino OB/GYN, absolutely! 3. If my water breaks, how much time do I have to get to the hospital before the delivery? No one knows for sure, since each patient situation is different. The best thing to do if you think your water is broken is to call your obstetrician to get evaluated. 4.I want a natural birth with no drugs, am I still required to have an IV line? If you are low risk with no complications during the pregnancy, then I recommend having an IV line that is not hooked up so in case of emergency, valuable time is not wasted placing the IV. 5. I am pregnant and worried about bird flu? Are there any things I should do or avoid to stay safe? Avian flu is mostly spread through airborne transmission. Currently, the virus is transmissible to humans only from infected poultry and there is no evidence it is spread human to human. Avoid contact with infected poultry, poultry markets, and live birds, and ensure that all poultry products are thoroughly cooked. Frequent hand-washing while preparing poultry is also important to minimize contamination. When handling poultry or eggs, wash your hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds before and after and cleaning cutting boards or any utensils used prior to contact with any other foods. Use a food thermometer to ensure poultry is cooked to a temperature of at least 73 degrees Celsius or 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Eggs should be thoroughly cooked so both whites and yolk are firm. 6. Can I get "safe" baby formula in China or should I buy imported only? What brands do you recommend? Breast feeding is the best way to feed your baby naturally and safely. 7. What is a doula? How does a doula work together with hospital staff? Doula is a word which originates from ancient Greek, meaning a woman who serves. These days, a doula is a non-medical person who guides and supports the patient throughout labor, delivery, and the postpartum period. Their primary goal is to enhance the patient’s confidence and feeling of safety. Although many doulas have prior medical experience as a nurse or midwife, they do not make medical decisions or offer medical device. They do offer compassionate encouragement as a labor companion and are therefore great additions to the hospital staff. Research shows doulas improve the birth experience for most mothers and can decrease the pain. 8. Are VBAC (vaginal births after Caesarean) births allowed in China? Are they advisable? VBACs are allowed in some institutions in China and are a great option for the right patient. Studies suggest VBAC overall success rate is approximately 60% (some studies show even higher rates of success) and should be considered in women with one prior low transverse Caesarean section. The decision to attempt VBAC is individualized and based on your medical history and current pregnancy. Benefits of successful VBAC: Generally decreased recovery time and hospital stay Reduced risk of thromboembolism (blood clot in the leg or lung) Reduced risk of needing a blood transfusion Ability to avoid risks associated with repeat caesarean sections Ability to have future vaginal births after this pregnancy Risks of attempted VBAC include but are not limited to: Uterine ruptures occur in less than one percent for women laboring for a VBAC compared to less than 0.1 percent for women who have a planned repeat caesarean. If uterine rupture occurs: An emergency Caesarean section will be necessary and a midline vertical skin incision may be necessary. The risk of infant death or permanent damage to the infant increases. A hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) may be required in the event of a hemorrhage (severe bleeding). If an emergent Caesarean section is required, a general anesthetic maybe given. This carries more risk to you and your infant than spinal or epidural anesthesia. Failure of VBAC attempt and need for repeat Caesarean section. Benefits of a repeat Caesarean section: Scheduled delivery Ability to perform tubal ligation at same time Avoiding risks of failed VBAC Risks of repeat Caesarean section include but are not limited to: Bleeding, infection, and damage to adjacent structures (i.e. bowel, bladder, vessels, and nerves) as can occur during any surgery Abnormal formation of the placenta (when the placenta attaches deep inside the uterus or the uterine scar) in future pregnancies. This risk increases in conjunction with the number of caesarean sections. Abnormal placenta formations increase the risk of hemorrhage and hysterectomy Scarring after surgery leading to residual discomfort or pain in the future Need for future pregnancies to be delivered by Caesarean section Talk with your obstetrician if you want to attempt VBAC during the first prenatal visit. It’s better to know at the beginning whether the physician or institution performs VBACs and if this option is right for you. There are many individualized factors that influence this important decision; receiving professional advice as early as possible gives to time to obtain a second or third opinion if necessary, and transfer care at your convenience.
  2. I found this article on Shanghai Daily, but it seems the link is not longer working so I posted here. NEARLY a third of yoga mats tested by the city’s quality watchdog were found to contain excessive plasticizer — a substance, typically a solvent, added to a synthetic resin to produce or promote flexibility and to reduce brittleness. All the mats tested had emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOC), a major contributor to air pollution that also can cause harm to people’s health, authorities warned yesterday. The Shanghai Quality and Technical Supervision Bureau tested 30 batches of yoga mats bought online as well as from actual stores and found nine batches had excessive phthalates, which can cause such effects as decrease of sperm, testicular cancer, liver and kidney damage, and increase the risk of breast cancer. All of the 30 batches of yoga mats had VOC emission, according to the bureau. People were likely to suffer from headache, vomiting, weakness, and convulsions when the concentration of VOC reaches a high level indoors, and the liver, kidney, brain and nervous system could also be harmed, doctors warned. China has no specific standards set for yoga mats, and the inspection results were based on American standards and other relevant standards in China, according to the bureau, which did not reveal who had produced the tested yoga mats. The bureau said it had forwarded the result to China’s top quality watchdog for consideration of setting a standard. “Many people use yoga mats as camping mats or for children to play, and most businesses claimed their yoga mats are totally safe and eco-friendly, which misleads consumers,” said Shen Weimin, deputy director of the bureau. “Yoga mats are not suitable to be used by children,” he said, adding people should put newly bought yoga mats in areas of good ventilation for several days before use. The bureau has ordered yoga mat producers and outlets selling them to improve quality control and eliminate safety hazards.
  3. American-Sino OB GYN, Pediatrics Services Providing a comprehensive array of on-site services for women and children, including obstetrics, gynecology, and pediatrics, by certified specialists from overseas and China. C-section rate: 40% Cost: Prenatal Care: 20,000 RMB Normal Vaginal Delivery: 45,000 RMB C-Section: 70,000 RMB Pain relief: Painless services available. Midwife present: Yes Water Births: Yes in cooperation with ASOG International Hospital. NICU: On site in ASOG International Hospital. Prenatal Classes: English & Chinese classes are available, including yoga, postnatal pilates. Breastfeeding Support: Yes ASOG offers professional breastfeeding support.
  4. Shanghai East International Medical Center US-China joint venture providing a full range of world-class services including family medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics, gynecology and on-site 24-hour emergency services. C-section rate: Below 30% Cost: Prenatal care from 12 weeks: 25,000 RMB / from 24 weeks 15,000 RMB Normal Vaginal Delivery: 62,000 RMB / Operative Vaginal Delivery: 72,000 RMB C-section: 86,000 RMB Prenatal packages available during trimester 1 or 2, Packages start at 12 & 24 weeks & cover all consultations and check-ups until birth. Individual services available up to 24 weeks. Pain relief: Epidural (locally manufactured) on-call support from anesthesiologist. Midwife present: Yes Water Births: No, but a bathtub is available. NICU: No, Has a partnership with Shanghai Children's Medical Center for emergencies. Prenatal Classes: CPR & First Aid, Prenatal Available on-site in English & Chinese. Breastfeeding Support: Yes Shanghai United Family Hospital Medical hospital offering a wide range of medical services with international standard treatment. Offers an English-speaking emergency department operating 24/7. C-section rate: 30% Cost: Check the website for current prices. Pain relief: Natural pain relief, Entonox, epidural all available. Midwife present: Yes Water Births: Available by patient providing equipment. NICU: Yes. Prenatal Classes: Both English & Chinese classes are available. Breastfeeding Support: Yes, Daily lactation consulting services, midwife clinic for breastfeeding. LLL meeting on-site.
  5. Here is my list of Maternity Hospitals in Shanghai, the list is always growing and I welcome you to add other hospitals and your experiences to this post. Redleaf Hospital Offers gynecology, obstetrics, newborn care, pediatrics & postpartum recovery services that adhere to the highest international standards. 105 beds and 178 on-site parking spaces. C-section rate: Most clients choose vaginal delivery. Cost: Prenatal Package: 23,000 RMB Natural Delivery: 73,000 RMB C-section: 110,000 RMB Prenatal packages includes check-ups from 12 weeks, initial & follow-up consultations, 15+ types of lab tests, ultrasound, fetal non-stress tests, & down syndrome screening tests. Individual services avaliable. Pain relief: Yes, epidural and other pain relief available. Midwife present: Yes Water Births: Yes NICU: Newborn special care nursery is available on site, for intensive care, new-borns will be transferred to Children's Hospital of Fudan University. Prenatal Classes: Available on-site in English & Chinese. Breastfeeding Support: Yes Parkway Health International team of 80+ doctors and specialists offering premium medical services including family medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics & gynecology. C-section rate: 40% Cost: Prenatal: Between 15,000 RMB - 25,000 RMB Natural Delivery: 60,000 RMB C-section: 98,000 RMB Prenatal packages: Available from 12 or 16 weeks. Includes blood tests, ultrasounds, genetic screenings and doctor consultations. Individual services available. Pain relief: Epidural (locally made) not included in the delivery package. Midwife present: Midwife is always present during labor. Water Births: No NICU: Birthing center equipped with an incubator for pre-term babies with no other complications, newborns are transferred to Fudan Hospital's NICU. Prenatal Classes: Available on-site in English. Breastfeeding Support: Yes
  6. One of the resounding questions common amongst expatriates prior to their move is “which side of the river to live – Pudong or Puxi?”. Whilst it often boils down to where you or your husband may work, as well as proximity to preferred schools, it is often hard to find photos of the different areas on offer within Shanghai. Prior to our ‘look-see’ trip I was fifteen weeks pregnant, a little apprehensive about the move, and would have loved one of my numerous Internet searches of Pudong to return something more than a picture of The Oriental Pearl Tower. I hope these photos provide a good glimpse of one area in Pudong. They concentrate on the Century Park area, which is home to the Shanghai Oriental Art Centre, The Science and Technology Museum, the market which is commonly referred to as “The Fake Goods Market”, a new retail complex and of course the park itself. The park offers a large expanse of greenery that for a small entry fee attracts many locals who take advantage of the lake activities, well maintained gardens and the green grass as they escape the hustle and bustle of the city. Everyone needs to make their own decision about the place in which they will fit best however I hope this may help other Mamas and Mamas-to-be visualize just one small piece of Shanghai.
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