Giving Birth in Shanghai

Giving Birth in Shanghai

Should I deliver my baby in Shanghai or should I return home? How is the healthcare system in Shanghai? How much does it costs to deliver a baby in Shanghai? What happens should complications occur?

In recent years, with the improvement of healthcare in Shanghai, it is becoming less and less common for expectant expat mothers to give birth out of China. Some do so especially when complications or multiple births is expected. While hospital care in Shanghai ranges, there are plenty of safe and reliable options for maternity hospitals in Shanghai. But whether you’re expecting your first child or your fifth, you will want to know the current options available and which ones will fit your needs best.

International Hospitals in Shanghai

Some expecting mothers may prefer to go international hospitals as many of the doctors and nurses on staff are typically fluent in English. The facilities are up to high standards and the hospitals tend to receive satisfactory reviews. However, with high standards also comes a high price tag. Often these facilities charge a premium for their services, so it may be difficult for those without international health insurance in Shanghai to cover the costs by themselves.

When Trixy Zielke, a 27-year-old teacher at Concordia International School, was pregnant, she said she asked a lot of friends about their experiences of giving birth in Shanghai and many of them recommended Parkway Health. She ended up choosing Parkway Health and Dr. Michelle Lu-Ferguson to deliver her baby. “I believe the doctor not the hospital makes all the difference,” she says. “After I went to have my first check up with her there was no question I wanted her to be my doctor.”

Trixy, originally from the United States, says she was very comfortable with Dr. Lu-Ferguson because of her overseas education, knowledge in Western practices, personable nature and great bedside manners. She was also impressed with the facilities and how she always had a private room for consultations. Come delivery time, “I had a room all to myself with a private toilet and shower. There was even a fold out bed for my husband,” she says.

Trixy did have to have an emergency cesarean and said they handled it very well “It was definitely expensive,” she says, but luckily she had an international health insurance in Shanghai that covers up to US$10,000 and US$5,000 extra for emergencies throughout the whole pregnancy. She ended up paying close to US$2,000 out of pocket, but felt “that was very reasonable for all the extras I had to go through.”

Local Hospitals in Shanghai

Local hospitals don’t always receive a good reputation, yet they’re constantly improving and offering better services that meet foreign expectations.

When Beth found out she was pregnant, she visited both types of hospitals - international and local. She chose Shanghai Changning Maternity & Infant Health Hospital after consulting a friend who had delivered there and who was happy with the level of hygiene and facilities. Apart from that, Beth chose Changning because “the quality of the pre-natal services are overall satisfactory. The prices that they charge are reasonable compared to the international hospitals.”

While she hasn’t had her baby yet, so far she’s been impressed with the level of care and service she’s received at Changning. She says that the nurses are attentive and polite. “I do feel that my doctor cares for me,” she says. One downside is the doctor’s limited English-speaking ability. “This doesn’t matter to me as I can understand and speak mandarin.”

For those without proficient Mandarin, it is important to choose a local hospital which houses staff fluent in English. While each hospital and experience varies, compared with international hospitals, there is still a gap in terms of the hygiene levels, staff’s bedside manner or overall experience. When it comes to giving birth in Shanghai, those popular amongst expat women include Huashan Hospital, Guangci Hospital (also known as Ruijin Hospital) & Peace Maternity Hospital.

Ruth, an American, chose International Peace Maternity Hospital when she gave birth in 2004 and 2006. “I had very positive experiences both times, especially since I did not encounter any complications,” she says, “the staff were fluent in English, they were kind and attentive and the facilities were very modern and clean.” At Peace Maternity Hospital, the obstetrician who attended to Ruth followed through from first consultation to final delivery where they were present in case of complications. Both times, the delivery was conducted by midwives who are the experts of natural delivery.

Ruth felt the need to thoroughly educate herself so as to be in more control. “I understood that the medical culture is somewhat different from my home country and that can sometimes affect your trust that things aren’t handled in the right way. I always wanted to be involved in making the decisions, and the doctor was very kind to work with me and receive my birth plan.” The hospital strictly followed the law and would not disclose the baby’s gender to them even though they are foreigners.

“I wouldn’t hesitate to use this hospital again in the future or to recommend it to my friends. In my opinion, it is the best local maternity hospital in the city,” she says, especially since she did not have maternity insurance. Total costs for her first birth was about 17,000 RMB while the costs increased to 22,000 RMB by the time of her second.

Cost of delivering a baby in Shanghai

The cost for delivering a baby in Shanghai does vary from hospital to hospital. Often hospitals will break down the individual costs, like prenatal charges and delivery charges. Natural births are less expensive than C-sections.

Pricing Details :

1) Local Hospital - Foreign/VIP Section | Download PDF

2) International Hospital | Download PDF

Nowadays, delivering a baby in Shanghai can be a pleasant and meaningful experience. Hospital facilities have greatly improved across the board and more options are available. Whether you’re covered by international medical insurance or not, there is most likely a suitable and affordable option for you.

Published : 20 April 2011