我怀孕了!My pregnancy experience in China

I can’t believe it, I am well into my third trimester of pregnancy and the time has come for me to go back to the UK and prepare for the baby’s arrival in early Spring.

When I found out I was pregnant last Summer, I was just about the start a new Chinese course here in Guilin and looking forward to settling into a new city with my brand-new husband. But once I discovered I was pregnant, everything was up in the air again. A few months before I had packed my life up into 2 cases, donated everything else to charity, given up my apartment and job and moved to China, with a view to that being long-term. I left almost nothing back in the UK, because I wasn’t going back anytime soon. Now I was pregnant!

I knew a little about pregnancy and giving birth in China, thanks to some fantastic bloggers who are generous enough to share their experiences, a couple of friends who had already had a child and a lot of internet research, so I was quite sure that giving birth in China would not be a comfortable experience. Childbirth is a scary enough experience for a first-time mother, without having to factor in the language issue, the cultural differences and the different expectations of medical care. I don’t fancy giving birth on my back with my legs in stirrups and I certainly don’t fancy undergoing a C-section (unless in an absolute emergency) so I soon made the decision it’d be best to go back home to give birth, in an environment I am more comfortable with, where I can air my views freely and attempt a natural birth attended by midwives (standard in the UK).

This meant that my long-term move to China was going to be cut short and I think it affected my settling-in quite negatively, as now I was looking forward to going back home again and counting down the time left, instead of increasing my efforts to find my place here in China. Whilst I’ll definitely be back, all being well within a few months of baby’s birth, I suspect periods spent in China will be shorter, as my British family will want to see us regularly, and a future move to the UK is significantly likely before our child reaches school-age. That being said, I feel so lucky that I have the opportunity to move easily and choose where I can give birth, which cannot be said for a lot of women who are stuck where there are whether they like it or not.

Compared to other bloggers and expat mothers, I may have had a very easy time of it. As we were new to Guilin, I haven’t been working here, and my husband’s family are on the other side of China, my exposure to Chinese people whilst I’ve had a visible baby bump has been a bit limited. Besides a few comments in the market and in shops over the last couple of months, I’ve not had much comment on my bump or much advice about behaviour/customs during pregnancy. Some may say I’ve been very lucky that my mother-in-law is not here to feed me up (apart from a three-week stay during my first trimester) and pass on advice. I’ve certainly had it very easy in terms of not working full-time and having a lot of time to nap. Just one quick anecdote to share was being told not to go to the cinema, as it was not good for my baby, could not get my head around that one!

Unfortunately long-distance is something many intercultural couples have to endure at times, and R will only be joining me for a short stay in the UK. I know it’ll all be worth it, but it’s going to be hard. It’s quite possible that the combination of separation from R, reverse-culture shock and pregnancy hormones will turn me into an emotional wreck – I hope my family are ready for me!


Pregnant in China? Here are some useful resources which have helped me:

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18 thoughts on “我怀孕了!My pregnancy experience in China

  1. Many advices you hear from chinese (few also from westerners) are reall really strange. My wife was told in China not to walk too much, not to walk too fast, not to eat the western food with knife and fork as it is dangerous as well as buckling up in the car…

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  2. I can imagine you want to come back here for your birth. So far prenatal care here has made me feel really comfortable and I feel blessed to be giving birth to our son in your homecountry. Hope to have our second one here as well.

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  3. It must all be a crazy roller coaster ride but it sounds like you have a good and realistic plan in mind. I know I’ve said it before, but I think going back home for the birth is a great idea, especially if you have any reservations about giving birth in China. Try to enjoy everything if you can. I know everyone says it, but the time really does go so fast!

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  4. Have a nice trip and a smooth last term! 🙂

    I have thought about it and if I get pregnant I would like to go back to Spain to give birth, even if it means being separated from the father for a few months. I can’t really picture myself giving birth in China! And I can’t picture my future kids going to school here… let’s see.

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  5. Woohoo, the end of the pregnancy marathon is just around the corner and you’ll get to hold your baby at long last! 🙂 When my mom was pregnant with me, my grandmother and grandfather (from my dad’s side) decided to stay with my parents throughout my mom’s last trimester… let’s just say, it lead to constant arguments as they were always criticizing the way she did things and after I was born, it was still the same! I think it’s an in-law thing!

    If I was to fall pregnant, I definitely don’t want to have a child in South Africa as the government hospitals are really bad, and if you’re not on medical aid; it’s around $5000 per night in a private hospital! I am not 100% sure on how things are in Taiwan, but it’s probably better than SA!

    All the best for your last trimester! 😀

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    • From what I’ve read, Taiwan’s health care system is pretty good. It’s even better than the US (though, that’s not saying a lot), so should be way better than South Africa’s.

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    • That’s a really brave decision your mom made! It certainly isn’t just Chinese in-laws – sure, they make for very funny stories but the relationship of daughter-in-law and parent-in-law is challenging by nature I think.

      I’m surprised to hear about public hospitals in SA, but I don’t know much about the country. Fingers crossed you can go elsewhere (Taiwan!)

      Thanks 🙂

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  6. I hope everything goes well my dear!

    My plan is to go back to the UK to give birth too (when that time comes), I have read/heard horror stories of Indian births, the man is not allowed in the room for a start. Then we’ll be coming back to India ASAP afterwards. I’m not pregnant, that’s just my plan!

    Good luck!! I hope you’re having a lovely time back with your family!! xx

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  7. Pingback: 2015 Blogs by Western Women Who Love Chinese Men | Speaking of China

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