No curve was too sharp for them and their bicycle. No puddle was deep enough to stop them. -- Friends by Helme Hein

14 September, 2010

Pregnancy in Japan

A few cultural differences I've noticed so far....

  1. Despite the cute little "akachan" badge on my purse, no one gives up their seat on the train for me.
  2. No food, except alcohol and cigarettes, is off limits here. Caffeine in moderation is ok. Sushi? Of course. Soft cheese...well, they don't really understand cheese anyway.
  3. People look at me sideways for still riding my bike.
  4. I'm treated with very delicate words and hands by Japanese women: "oh, please be so careful" are usually the first words out of their mouths. Pregnancy is a very special time here.
  5. Prenatal vitamins are not regularly used because it is assumed that the Japanese diet is already healthy and varied enough.
  6. It will cost an extra $100 to have James in the delivery room with me. I'm sure he would prefer to pinch pennies...
  7. I get an ultrasound at every check up. I'm currently 19 weeks and have had 3 ultrasounds.
  8. Japanese women are strictly discouraged from gaining more than 7 kilos (about 15 pounds). My doctor has told me to gain about 12 kilos (about 25 pounds) because of my height, and, as he says, he knows better. Epidurals are not, by default, done in Japan. Smaller babies = less painful natural births.
  9. The government pays up to $85 for each of my prenatal checkups. My insurance is *$#%.
  10. The "safe" mark for a pregnancy in Japan is the 5 month, whereas in America, you are considered in the clear after 3 months.
  11. In Japan, you are considered pregnant for 10 months, not 9. It seems to make more sense, really: 40 weeks / 4 weeks per month = 10 months. In the US, they count some months as having 5. The lunar calendar changes things a bit.
  12. Women are discouraged from making noise during labor. A friend of mine was repeatedly asked to quiet down so she would not disturb the other people in the hospital.


Joe said...

Great list Jesse. Are you going to splurge and let James in with you? Lets see a picture of you on the bike.

Jesse said...

Joe, I think your brother would prefer to save even more money and deliver the baby himself :) Hope you are well!

Wendy said...

Wow. Those are some MAJOR differences! Let me just tell you that I had an all natural delivery with Wyatt, and I was anything but quiet. Some women are quiet during labor and delivery, so you will have to see which type you are, but you do whatever you have to in order to get through it, and don't feel bad about it! :)

Jesse said...

Too funny Wendy---were you yelling, "you did this to me!!" Nice to hear from you!