Traveling to Bangkok to Give Birth, Part I: Choosing a Hospital

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This is the first in a 2-part series of articles on traveling to Bangkok to give birth. Make sure to read Traveling to Bangkok to Give Birth, Part 2 – Getting There!

Choosing where to give birth can be a difficult decision, particularly for an expecting mother living outside of her home country. Since having a child can be a pretty grueling ordeal under the best of circumstances, you don’t want to risk adding any additional complications or stress to the process. You want a location with top-tier medical facilities, experienced staff and plenty of soothing places to relax both before and after the big day.

Travel to Bangkok for birth

Bangkok, one of the world’s leading medical tourism destinations, offers expecting mothers some of the best medical care in the region at a very attractive price. As a result, more and more expats living in Cambodia, Laos or other parts of Thailand, are traveling to the Big Mango before their due date. Even after selecting the city though, there are still a number of other factors to consider.

Choosing a hospital

Though there are quite a few medical facilities in Bangkok, the two hospitals foreigners generally gravitate toward are Samitivej Sukhumvit Hospital (133 Sukhumvit Rd. Soi 49; 66-2/711-8000; www.samitivejhospital.com) and Bumrungrad International Hospital (33 Sukhumvit Rd. Soi 3; 66-2/667-2525; www.bumrungrad.com). Both cater heavily to expats and medical tourists from all over the world, and both maintain international standards for hygiene, training, equipment and care. Granted, this does make them a bit more expensive than the public Thai hospitals, but it means the majority of the staff you deal with will be proficient or fluent in English. Remember: by having your baby in Bangkok, you’re already paying substantially less than you would in a Western country or another Southeast Asian nation such as Singapore. It’s well worth the small extra investment to have a comfortable, safe environment.

In general, Samitivej is the more popular of the two main options, since it heavily promotes the quality of its maternity care and is currently the one hospital that offers a water birth option.
Ultimately, the decision is up to you and it’s worth the effort to investigate both of the places for yourself and see how you feel about them. Ask to see the birthing rooms and speak with the doctor in advance before you book an appointment.

Choosing a doctor

Selecting a physician in Thailand is much like finding one in other parts of the world. Both hospitals have highly accredited doctors who should be willing to discuss their experience and credentials with you. Many are educated abroad and may have additional credentials from international organizations. Be sure that you choose a doctor with whom you feel comfortable and who you can talk to easily. If you strongly prefer a woman doctor, it’s perfectly okay to say that.

It may help to have several meetings in advance with the doctor to discuss which birthing method is best for you. This will ensure that you and your doctor are on the same page throughout the process, and that there are no misunderstandings when the big moment comes. If at any point in these discussions you feel like your doctor doesn’t understand your wishes or disagrees with you on fundamental points, feel free to change doctors. This is completely normal. The important thing is that you feel you have someone you can trust and depend on. Until you find that doctor, do not settle for less.

Photo Credit: Nik Cyclist via Compfight cc

ExpectingExpats.com

Expecting Expats is the online resource for parents in and around Thailand.

We provide lifestyle and medical content to our visitors, with new content posted daily. Our lifestyle contributors are themselves expat moms who share their experiences and lessons learned through blog articles. We also provide medical content from our partner doctors at Samitivej Hospital in Bangkok, Thailand. Articles of interest span from before pregnancy through the toddler years and cover medical, behavioral and cognitive issues.

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