Tag Archive | "antenatal"

Testimonial from Regina

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Testimonial from Regina

Posted on 18 September 2013 by Kristrun

I just wanted to let you know how supportive the staff at Annerley have been during my pregnancy & now in caring for my daughter. When I moved to Hong Kong, I was 12 weeks pregnant. It was a bit daunting to be pregnant in a foreign country where I wasn’t familiar with the medical system and had limited social support. From the start, through Belly to Belly Workshops and antenatal classes, the staff at Annerley provided me with opportunities to learn about the maternity system in Hong Kong, gave me the tools hlep me to advocate for myself within the system, and provided me with all the information I needed for a healthy pregnancy and delivery. In working with Sofie during Belly to Belly workshops, one to one meetings, and the positioning class, I had a very fast labor and was able to have the non medicalized, drug-free birth I wanted. Given my history as brain tumor survivor, it would have been easy for the highly medicalized physicians in Hong Kong to convince me that I needed a scheduled c-section. However, the staff at Annerley taught me what questions to ask the physicians, how to express my wishes, and how I would know if and when medical interventions would be necessary. It was very useful when Sofie taught me about the importance of posture during pregnancy to help with the baby’s position. I was thrilled with my labor and birth, being able to labor in the different positions Sofie taught and even deliver standing up.
The midwife visits after returning home from the hospital with my daughter helped my husband and me feel more comfortable caring for our daughter and more confident in our parenting. The night we arrived home, my daughter was having some difficulty eating and it was very comforting to know that Rowena would be visiting the next morning to help sort us out. During those early weeks, having Rowena and Conchita visit helped us get through difficult days and nights. Breastfeeding was difficult for me due to my medical history and without the support of Annerley and the visiting midwives, I would not have been able to breastfeed at all. With proper planning before my daughter’s birth and support afterwards, I was able to provide breast milk to my daughter for 10 weeks. While that might seem like a short time for many mothers, for me, it was a major accomplishment. During those 10 weeks, when things got difficult & I wasn’t sure I could continue, support from Conchita helped very much. Her family centered and strengths based approach helped me to think through what the goal was for me, my baby and my family and what was going to make for a happy mom and happy baby, without any pressure to continue breastfeeding. Since giving birth, I have come to clinic, had home visits, and one to one meetings with Conchita. I appreciate that I can ask any parenting, childcare or medical question, no matter how big or small. And unlike visits with pediatricians, Conchita focuses on our entire family’s wellness and happiness, not just our baby’s. It is very comforting to know that Conchita and the staff at Annerley are available through all the stages of my daughters development. I am looking forward to discussing the next milestone with Conchita, starting solids. Conchita has been able to provide the medical support and emotional support that all new parents need.
My helper took Conchita’s course, “Caring for 0-12 month old babies” in the spring. My helper has over 20 years raising Western children but my husband and I felt strongly that she take a course from the same professionals who were teaching our antenatal and childcare classes. When my helper came home from the course each day, she was energized and shared with me the different things that she learned. It was fantastic that Conchita taught her new things and sent her home with “homework assignments”. It encouraged her to have conversations with me about what she was learning. Some of the highlights for both of us included baby proofing the house, how to encourage language development, and starting solids. It was wonderful that Conchita could make this information exciting to such a seasoned child care provider. Additionally, Conchita stressed to helpers in the class the importance of communication with employers. This ended up being a helpful reinforcement for both my helper and myself when after the baby arrived we realized we needed to communicate differently than we had before. I would highly recommend the course to all helpers who will be working with infants regardless of how much experience they have.
The services at Annerley fill the gap many of us feel without local family and give new parents the opportunity to get support on childcare and parenting, which is something the medical system does not routinely provide.
Thank you for all that you do,

Regina Karchner September 2013

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Prenatal Charges & OB-GYN Fees in Hong Kong 2013

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Prenatal Charges & OB-GYN Fees in Hong Kong 2013

Posted on 21 August 2013 by hulda

Pre-natal Charges & OB-GYN Fees in Hong Kong 2013Published in Geobaby – 3 May 2013

Having a baby in Hong Kong? Our list of OB-GYNs and their charges will be a good start for you as you embark on your journey to mommyhood.

For your convenience and quick reference, we’ve compiled a list of doctors who deliver in Hong Kong, and their basic fees. In the table below, you will find the hospitals the doctors deliver in, and the fees for the consultation, ultrasounds, and the price of natural vs. c-section deliveries.

There were some data that we were unsuccessful in obtaining, so if you’ve just had a baby please share your doctor’s fees with us. All of these doctors can be found in our directory, but if your doctor isn’t listed here, drop us a line at editor@geobaby.com.

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Is it risky to get pregnant if you’re over 35?

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Is it risky to get pregnant if you’re over 35?

Posted on 21 August 2013 by hulda

IS IT RISKY TO GET PREGNANT IF YOU’RE OVER 35?

By Hulda Thorey –  Published in SassyMama – 1 March 2011

Q. I’m 37 and finally thinking about having a baby but I’m worried about possible complications. Is it really risky to have a baby at my age and if so, what are the risks involved?

A: The simple answer to this is that no, it is not risky to have a baby at 37, in fact for a variety of reasons in today’s society it is becoming more common for women to wait to start a family until they are over 35yrs old.  In one Sydney health area in 2003 approximately 30% of all births were to women over 35 yrs old.  It is important to remember that although there are some risks associated, there are also benefits for both mother and baby by waiting.  There is a number of aspects to consider in answering this question fully, so I will try to give you a summary of the information.

The risks associated for having a baby at 37 are wide-ranging and specific to each individual.  In the first instance there is a higher possibility of couples finding it more difficult to conceive, however in many situations technology is assisting families in this area.

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Antenatal care in Hong Kong

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Antenatal care in Hong Kong

Posted on 14 August 2013 by hulda

By Oláfia Aradottir – Published on Geobaby.com – 25 July, 2013

In Hong Kong, as in much of the rest of the westernised world, when you learn you are pregnant, you take it for granted that you will follow a programme of antenatal visits. After the initial excitement it can feel that the checkups are a bit tedious and over-fussy, especially when all that the healthcare practitioner seems to do is check your weight, urine and blood pressure, but it is exactly these checks that provide the first indicators of a problem.

Why antenatal care is so important?

Much research has shown how important antenatal care is for improving mother and baby survival rates, and a World Health Organization study published this year shows that even skimping on visits can have scary results, even for low-risk mothers.

Antenatal visits are important because in most cases, the indicators for some of the rare but serious conditions that cause death for mother and/or baby can easily be detected in the early stages, and this means that the condition can be treated or managed safely to reduce risk and prevent the condition escalating and causing further complications.

Who provides your antenatal care depends on where you live. In Europe midwives are generally the prime carer for low-risk pregnancies, even doing most deliveries, whereas in the US, care is more obstetric-led.

Antenatal care in Hong Kong

In Hong Kong’s private hospitals care is obstetrician led, but midwives take care of the women throughout labour with the obstetricians making all major decisions and then delivering the baby. However, in government hospitals, midwives usually deliver the babies having taken care of the mother throughout labour.

This involvement of midwives is important because for a vast majority of women, pregnancy is not a medical condition, but is an important life transition. A famous piece of research (Cochrane) has shown that, compared with women who were cared for under other models of care, women who received midwife-led models of care were less likely to be admitted to hospital during pregnancy, less likely to receive regional analgesics during labour and childbirth, and to have an episiotomy. In addition, women who received midwife-led models of care were also more likely to have spontaneous vaginal birth, to feel in control during labour and childbirth, and to initiate breastfeeding. And if that wasn’t enough: babies born to women who received midwife-led care were less likely to die before 24 weeks of pregnancy and were more likely to have a shorter length of hospital stay.

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Antenatal preparation in Hong Kong

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Antenatal preparation in Hong Kong

Posted on 16 November 2011 by Annerley

“I am 7 weeks pregnant and I have just moved to Hong Kong.  How does the system work; where do I register and where is it best to give birth?“  Calls or emails of this sort are not uncommon in our practice and every time I wish there was a concrete answers for all the parents in this situation.  There is no such answer though, and each couple finds different reasons for doing different things to prepare for the arrival of their child.

Just pregnant – public and private maternity services

In Hong Kong, every person with an ID card has the right to use the government hospital maternity services and the cost will be minimal.  The maternal health clinics generally give really good service, although sometimes English is not perfect and communication aims more for being efficient and medical than “consumer friendly”. However, in terms of staff, equipment, safety and resources, clinics and hospitals are perfectly up to standards and Hong Kong is one has one of the lowest morbidity and mortality rates in the world.

When people have insurance cover or simply chose to pay for private maternity services, there is a variety of hospitals to choose from and most of them offer all basic care, emergency cover for operation theatre and paediatric backup.  Choosing this, you will often have more choices in terms of the birth itself; less policies to worry about and can decide more who is with you during the labour.  You will also both be pampered more and given more privacy than public hospitals can offer.  I found the entire procedure very simple as I had Health Insurance In Maryland. I also find that after the birth, women that have stayed in some of the private hospitals will have more success with breastfeeding, mostly because the staff seems to have more time to help with initial challenges.

Private hospitals are usually also well equipped but it is important to know that they not be able to take care of seriously ill newborn and premature babies before week 34 of pregnancy are taken to a public hospital for intensive care.

Maternity checkups

In the beginning, you are advised to see a midwife or doctor around every 4 weeks for routine checkups and screening of risks/abnormalities.  Luckily most women come away from those without complications but depending on circumstances, some women would be recommended or offered the following screening tests and scans:

  • 6 – 10 weeks:  Early ultrasound scan to confirm pregnancy and possible due date.
  • 11 – 14 weeks:  Nuchal Translucency Scan.  This is a risk assessment to screen for Downs syndrome.  The test is often combined with a blood test to give more accuracy and if the result indicates a high risk, you might be offered amniocentesis, which then would be done around week 15-18.
  • 18 – 20 weeks:  Ultrasound to confirm due date and to check with accuracy for any physical abnormalities with the baby.  Also to check the lying of the placenta and to confirm singleton/twin pregnancy.
  • 24 – 28 weeks:  Glucose tolerance test to exclude diabetes during pregnancy.  Usually good to check iron levels at the same time (Hb and/or Ferritin).
  • 34 – 36 weeks:  A scan to confirm that baby is growing and developing well.

When the pregnancy progresses, you will see the doctor/midwife more frequently, or around every 2 – 3 weeks.  The visits are routine health checkups for you and the baby, but you can try and use the time to get to know your caregiver and introduce to her/him the ideas you might have about the birth itself.  That way you will slowly find a way to try to fulfil the wishes you have and minimize fears that sometimes arise when communication is not good.

Preparing for the birth 

When it comes to preparing for the actual birth, in some ways it can be best to not have any set ideas about how you want it to be, to avoid a complete shock or disappointment if it does not turn out the way you had planned it to.  There is, however, a great difference between preparing and detailed planning.

The birth is a journey

It is in a way similar to prepare for a marathon hike that you don’t know how long is, or where it is taking place.  You gather general information, try and think about different scenarios and how you think you would respond to those.  Other than that, the preparation is mostly about staying fit, feeling psychologically well, eating a balanced diet, drinking plenty of water and making sure you get plenty of rest.  This sounds familiar, since, this is what all pregnant women are advised to do anyway.

Sometimes, when planning for the birth, people tend to think that all of a sudden some new powers start to work on the body to change the way it functions, and therefore they need to learn a totally new technique to deal with this.  In my experience as a midwife, this is not the case; there are surely physical challenges that are new, but mostly you rely on already established methods that you just don’t know that you have!

What do I need to know?

To help yourself to feel more in control when you are in labour, it is useful to gather some information about the process and what to expect from the hospital staff.  Reading, talking to friends and family and discussing with your doctor or midwife is all a part of this.  If you want to go one step further, antenatal classes might be an option.  In Hong Kong, the Queen Mary hospital offers English speaking classes for parents that plan to give birth there, as well as a tour of the labour ward.  Some private hospitals also offer this, and in most cases you will find them to be specially aimed for presenting each hospitals ideology and protocols, often involving the staff of the actual labour ward – which is useful.

When deciding on preparation classes you might want to ask yourself:

1.     What do you want from the classes?

2.     Who is teaching them and what background do they have?

3.     Do they follow any special philosophy?

4.     Are they mainly giving practical information or is there any training also involved?

5.     How many couples will there be in the classes?

6.     Is there a chance for questions and discussions?

Private midwives, such as here at Annerley offer childbirth preparation classes that usually aim for more independent view, meaning that parents are encouraged to rather follow their own intuition than the hospital protocols.  This sometimes can be a challenge for parents if the staff at the hospital does not have the same ideas about what are reasonable demands and what is too independent.  Luckily though, most of us are being realistic and we help parents to find a way that suits everyone without any dilemmas.  With parents being more demanding, there have been a lot of changes towards more modern attitude in the labour room, including the option of mothers using different positions when giving birth, use of birth ball and less routine use of episiotomy and medical pain relief.

Minimizing interventions

Most antenatal classes have one of their aims to minimize the chances of negative birth experience caused by unexpected events.  A part of this is to encourage the parents to be actively involved in the process of making decisions, and being informed.  To decrease chances of medical interventions, it is also important to find a balance between physical activity and relaxation, and be upright and mobile to speed up the process of contractions.

Sometimes, however, it is necessary to step in the process and use medical interventions, such as emergency C-section, vacuum extraction or forceps.  For parents that are well prepared, this is usually not a desired outcome but it should not have to be too shocking, given that communication channels are kept open and people feel informed at all stages in the process.  This is why it is important in the preparation of the birth to not have a rigid plan, but rather ideas that then get developed when you actually feel what it is like to be in the process.

You just have to go with the flow

When I started doing antenatal classes, I soon found that parents often walked away with too unrealistic image of what might happen during the labour, so I added a private lesson into the antenatal package.  This, I found, helped greatly to clear out misunderstandings or dilemmas that often rise in group lessons and also gave the parents a chance to write down their ideas of the birth with some private guidance.  I find that most midwives and doctors will give you the chance of something similar if you ask for it, and actually value your involvement when it not too unrealistic.  In the end of the day, you just have to go with the flow, trust your instincts and make sure you at all times make your wishes clear to the ones around that are trying to help.

Hulda Thorey 2011

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