5 Must Know Things About Giving Birth in Thailand
1. Thailand doesn’t have Midwives
This was a bit of a shock to me but yes, no midwives. You can hire a Doula, a birthing companion. They can help advocate your choices for you when you’re in the thick of it. This is a really good option if you want a special kind of birth (hypno-birth, water birth or just natural). They also support you for scheduled c-sections if that is your birth choice. A good birth doula doesn’t judge and will support you on your journey, no matter which one it is.
I personally used this Doula and cannot recommend her highly enough.
2. Every hospital has policies and every doctor is different
This is probably stating the obvious, but just in case you didn’t know (I didn’t!), inform yourself about what birthing policies your hospital has. For example Bumrungrad has a few pro-natural birth doctors, but doesn’t have birthing tubs for water birth. Samitivej allows water birth but that means you are only going in for the actual birth, not the labour (which I think is disappointing to many). There was a short timeframe while I was pregnant where Samitivej had banned Doulas – making Bumrungrad very happy with additional business.
3. Doulas are not always allowed in every hospital
If you have a Doula, she will tell you what the policy is in the hospital you want. If they don’t allow Doulas, they might also not allow partners, so always triple check on hospital policies.
4. There is a whole world of fairy godmothers that will help you as soon as you get pregnant.
I found this to be the most beautiful discovery of all my years in Bangkok: there is a whole little parallel universe of amazing ladies who volunteer to help mummies in need. Here a few examples: There is a group called Doulas of Bangkok – they run a monthly meet-up called “Choices in Childbirth” which is a great place to get some info on what your options are. Then there is Bambi Bumps and Babies run by the one and only Emma who is a UK midwife and runs a weekly session on various topics like breast feeding or birth 101 etc. There’s also a breast-feeding cafè which is a weekly meet-up in a coffee shop on Sukhumvit where lactation consultants help you out with any questions on breast feeding. Honestly, I don’t know what I would have done without these fairy godmothers who are always there with a helping hand, no matter what the issue or question. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. You ladies rock!
(Post script: this is probably the reason I wanted to become one of these amazing ladies. I hope I can do them justice!)
5. See beyond the birthing wall
this has proven to be the most important piece of advice I un-knowingly ignored. I was so consumed with how and where and when I was going to give birth, that I wasn’t really fully prepared for what would come once baby was here. Sure, I did my breast-feeding course, I had all the gadgets at home, all the onesies washed and the nursery set up, I was prepared for no sleep and had lots of frozen food ready. But somehow I was not prepared for the challenge that breast-feeding was going to be, that my c-section scar would hurt me so badly that I couldn’t get up for 10 days without cringing in pain, that the days in hospital I should have rested more (and given baby to nursery so I could rest and heal – at the time I thought: what a horrible mum! She’s just born and I am already shoving her off!).
So my advice would be – think of what happens postpartum. How will you handle breast-feeding challenges (if you want to breast –feed that is). Maybe bring phone numbers of breast-feeding consultants or doulas and ask them to come to visit. How will you deal with pain from scarring or incontinence from pushing, or just pure exhaustion from 20 hours of labour?
Post script: this was written in 2018, almost a year after giving birth!