Having a Baby in China

A guide to pregnancy and giving birth in China: maternity leave, choosing a doctor, what to take to the hospital, how to register the birth and childhood vaccinations...

China's one child per family policy, which does not apply to foreigners living in the country, has led to the Chinese being very careful throughout pregnancy to ensure that everything goes smoothly. Women should expect to be given a lot of advice about parenting, both from friends and from strangers. Foreigners with young babies are often a source of fascination, and new parents may have to decide for themselves how much attention they are comfortable with.

On Becoming Pregnant

Upon discovering they are pregnant, women should arrange to visit a doctor at one of their local hospitals; this should be done within the first 12 weeks. When choosing an obstetrician, it is advisable to have a recommendation from someone who has been under their care.

  • For more information on healthcare and hospitals in China see the Health System section

A number of routine checks take place at this first visit and throughout the pregnancy. An ultrasound may be done during a first visit at some hospitals.

At most hospitals a woman is given a pre-natal care book in which the results of all regular checks are kept. The frequency of visits for maternity checks increases as the pregnancy progresses; monthly checks are normal in the early months, progressing to checks every fortnight then weekly as the due date approaches.

There are some organisations such as La Leche League which offer classes and support to expectant and new mothers in the country. They organise classes in English.