Resource Center

Planning and raising a family in Thailand introduces many challenges for expats.

Expecting Expats has put together this resource center to share critical information and experience that will make your family decisions easier.

Are you trying to get pregnant?

Five things that could affect your infertility

These Five Things Could Affect Your Level of Fertility

By ExpectingExpats.com

I wanted children so badly I was willing to listen to any advice I could get. I’ve never been remotely superstitious, but I even stopped by a fortuneteller . . .

By ExpectingExpats.com

Fertility may be one of the best examples of how the universe is just not fair. When my husband and I decided to have children, it felt like nothing we did was working. Although we were both fortunate enough to have healthy bodies and our doctors said everything was fine, I went through more negative pregnancy tests than I could count. As the months went by, it seemed like every couple we knew was posting pictures of their smiling, bouncing newborns on Facebook, or announcing their upcoming shower. And each time I congratulated a joyous new mother, a tiny, secret part of me ached.

Five things that could affect your infertility

For a medical point of view, read our article on Female Infertility from the doctors at Samitivej Hospital’s Women’s Health Center.

I wanted children so badly I was willing to listen to any advice I could get. I ate tofu for days on end, and then avoided soy completely. I tried shots of wheatgrass. I checked my basal body temperature constantly. I’ve never been remotely superstitious, but I even stopped by a fortuneteller (who told me nothing remotely useful).

Fortunetellers, folk remedies and internet rumors didn’t get me anywhere, but in the process I did find a few real things that can make a difference. There’s no single solution to this problem, but I did learn that there are small things that actually help with infertility.

Watch your weight
Being underweight significantly hurts your chances of pregnancy, there’s no doubt about it. Inadequate body weight can wreak havoc with your menstrual cycle and lower hormone levels. To have a reasonable chance of conceiving, your Body Mass Index (ask your doctor to measure this) should not be lower than 19. And while specific foods may not make much of a difference, having a balanced, healthy diet with plenty of fats, proteins and complex carbohydrates can only help.

Stop smoking
If you’re thinking about having kids, you ought to be cutting cigarettes out anyway. Plus, tests have consistently shown that smoking (or even breathing secondhand smoke) hurts your chances of pregnancy.

Drink moderately
We all know too much booze is bad, but it’s even more problematic when you’re trying to have children. Though the evidence on this one is a bit divided, most doctors say take it easy on the alcohol when trying to conceive.

Check your medicine cabinet
Certain drugs can have a serious impact on fertility levels. The most obvious of these is birth control medication–even months after you stop taking it. It will take months after going off the pill before your hormone levels and cycles return to normal, so be patient. In addition, SSRI’s (antidepressants) and even certain types of nausea medication can have a negative effect. Talk to your doctor before you start taking anything.

Pay attention to your stress levels
The doctors are divided on this, but the general consensus is that stress isn’t doing anything to help your fertility levels. If you have a lot going on in your life, take note and find ways to unwind. Yoga, counseling or even just going for a Thai massage all give your body a chance to relax and center.

Photo Credit: v.maxi via Compfight cc

Which prenatal vitamins can help prepare me for pregnancy?

By ExpectingExpats.com

Hi, I’m not yet pregnant and starting to think about taking prenatal vitamins to get my body ready. I’ve read up a little on what I need but I’m having

By ExpectingExpats.com

Hi, I’m not yet pregnant and starting to think about taking prenatal vitamins to get my body ready. I’ve read up a little on what I need but I’m having trouble finding the right thing at the pharmacies in Thailand. Can you recommend where to buy them and the product name/brand that fits the requirements? Thanks

Prenatal vitamins are vitamin supplements that you take the month before and all through your pregnancy. Generally, an adequate intake of folic acid is essential a month prior to pregnancy which you can choose any brand that’s labelled vitamin for “prenatal” and that has at least 400 micrograms of folic acid and you can find this vitamin from any pharmacy shop.

While prenatal vitamins are a complement to a healthy diet, there are so many factors that can help you to have healthy pregnancy. We would recommend to follow some guidelines which include lifestyle, health, immunization as well as the medicine in order to prepare your health for conceiving.

For Lifestyle and health, you can change according to these guidelines.

If you have immunization records, please make sure that you have them all. Otherwise you need to take a blood test in order to check the immunizations. Your doctor will recommend which vaccine is required for pregnant preparation.

Here is the check-list to run through for healthy preparation. This can be achieved for both partners (husband and wife).

Pre-existing medical problems (hypertension, diabetes, epilepsy, thyroid disorder, cardiac problems and drug history)

  • Stabilize medical conditions and ensure that medical control is optimal
  • Check that drugs needed are safe for use in pregnancy and do not affect sperm function
  • Where appropriate, refer woman to an obstetric physician for advice on implications of the condition in pregnancy

Weight

  • Check BMI
  • Modify diet and do more exercise to lose weight and aim for BMI < 30. Women with BMI < 20 should be advised to gain weight and reduce exercise if they are exercising excessively. Being considerably underweight is associated with an increased risk of miscarriage and intrauterine growth retardation. Proper diet and exercise are important for optimal reproductive function.

Smoking & caffeine intake

  • Both partners are advised to stop smoking
  • Caffeine intake should be less than 2 cups of coffee daily

Recreational drugs

  • Both partners are advised to stop using recreational drugs

Check-up the immune system of both partners

  • For the safety of the child. Some diseases may be genetically transmitted to the child and these include anemia, thalassemia, and hemophilia. In some families, the diseases have been transmitted through several generations. A health check-up before pregnancy will help to identify the potential risks that may affect the unborn child. It will also help in planning your pregnancy and to ensure that your pregnancy is safe. Blood test will be done for ABO Group for Hematology, Rh Group, Complete blood count, Hemoglobin Typing, VDRL, Anti-HIV, HBs Ag, Anti-HBs, Rubella Igs (women only), etc. Please read details
  • If you don’t have particular antibodies in your immune system such as for Hepatitis B or Rubella, then you need vaccines to boost your immune system at least 3 months before pregnancy

Boonsaeng Wutthiphan ,M.D.
OB/GYN and Infertility Specialist
Samitivej Hospital

10 things to do before you conceive

Top 10 things to do before you conceive

By ExpectingExpats.com

What not all couples realize is that there’s also a significant list of things to do before you even conceive. Here are 10 things to think about . . .

By ExpectingExpats.com

It’s no secret that in the nine months leading up to that very big day, there’s a whole lot to be done. There are doctors to visit, names to choose, rooms to prepare, showers to plan and an endless stream of questions to field from friends, family and strangers.

10 things to do before you conceive

What not all couples realize is that there’s also a significant list of things to do before you even conceive. Here are 10 things to think about (aside from the all-important preconception doctor’s visit) while you’re still in the planning stage.

  1. Quit smoking. If you’ve been telling yourself you’re going to quit “soon” for months, now is really the time to do it. The combination of nicotine and carbon monoxide (not to mention the 4,000-plus other chemicals lurking in your average cigarette) can deprive a fetus of oxygen and more than double the risk of stillbirth. The last thing you want is to be tempted to smoke while pregnant. Quit well in advance to be on the safe side.
  2. Lose the alcohol and caffeine. We know what you’re thinking: No coffee?! It’s okay, you can still have a latte now and then, but start cutting down. Doctors constantly argue about how much caffeine is okay when you’re pregnant, but start lowering your intake to be on the safe side. Since you know you’ll need to stop drinking alcohol entirely anyway, start replacing it with healthier options now.
  3. Reevaluate your diet. This seems obvious, but like quitting smoking, it’s much easier to start before you have the extra stress of a pregnancy in your life. Load up your fridge with fruits and veggies (okay, and a few cheat foods) now, and get ready to cut down on fish high in mercury and raw foods that could contain bacteria.
  4. Talk to your mom. While you should definitely consult with the experts, there’s also one person you know who’s been through all this before. Odds are your mom will be thrilled and flattered that you want her advice, and she may be able to tell you a lot about what’s in store.
  5. Figure out when you ovulate. Most women ovulate about 16 days after the start of their last period. If you want to more closely monitor your cycle, try picking up a digital ovulation test kit, available at Boots or Watsons.
  6. Think about money. Be realistic. Are you capable of financially supporting a child right now? A standard Natural Birth Program at Samitivej Hospital costs Bt44,900, while a Cesarean Birth Program will set you back Bt68,700. But that’s just the beginning. Consider the price of food, clothing, international school tuition and medical care and make sure you’re in a position to cover all of it.
  7. Check your weight. Being underweight or overweight substantially reduces your chances of pregnancy. If you’re not sure whether or not you’re at a healthy weight, consider calculating your Body Mass Index (BMI). You want to aim for a BMI between 20 and 24 when trying to conceive. Check your own BMI
  8. Find out your family medical history. It won’t tell you everything, but your family history can reveal a lot about your own genetic situation. As mom and dad for the records and start going through your family tree.
  9. Start taking prenatal vitamins. Folic acid, iron, calcium and other nutrients are going to be essential for your growing baby. Start popping those multivitamins three to six months before you plan on getting pregnant.
  10. Take a trip. In between preconception doctor’s visits, take some time to really enjoy yourself. A weekend away with the girls or guys is about to get a whole lot harder, so go ahead and book that trip to Krabi or Koh Chang (or go all-out and hit up Bali!) while you can.

Photo Credit: Angelo González via Compfight cc


Are you pregnant and looking for birth options?

Should you get a C-section?

Should you get a C-section?

By ExpectingExpats.com

Cesarean sections, for better or for worse, are more common in Thailand than in many parts of the world. Like anything else though, there are pros and cons to having a C-section . . .

By ExpectingExpats.com

I was out to lunch the other day with a fellow Bangkok expat who is rapidly approaching her due date. It sounds trite to say she glowed, but really there is no other word for it—she has wanted another baby for some time, and couldn’t be happier about it. The pregnancy has been a smooth one thus far, and by all indications she will soon be caring for two adorable, healthy children.

I asked her casually where she was going to go for the big day, and to my surprise, she said she wasn’t sure.

“I’ve spoken to several doctors now, and they keep trying to talk me into a C-section,” she said, clearly frustrated. “I’ve said repeatedly that I want a natural birth, and I don’t feel comfortable with someone who won’t respect my decision. I can’t understand why a doctor would even let a woman go through with that.”

Should you get a C-section?

Cesarean sections, for better or for worse, are more common in Thailand than in many parts of the world. How you give birth is, needless to say, not a decision you should take lightly, and you absolutely should find a doctor who will listen to you. Like anything else though, there are pros and cons to having a C-section.

“Read our blog post Natural Birth: It’s a Spiritual Affair for a discussion on birthing options from the doctors at Samitivej Hospital”

Why you should consider a C-section

There is a general perception that some women want a C-section simply because it’s easier. While this isn’t exactly true (giving birth is never easy), it does allow you to choose the date and control the duration of the process. According to recent surveys, more than a third of Thai births are done by C-section, many not out of medical necessity.

However, there are some cases when a planned C-section really is the best option. If a reputable doctor who you know and trust suggests it, you should listen. If you’re carrying multiple children, if you’re baby is exceptionally large or if there is any chance of your child coming out feet-first, it may be your best and safest option.

In some cases, a C-section is not only less risky, but absolutely essential. One of Expecting Expats’ very own contributors shared the story of how she bravely opted for the surgery when doctors were afraid that her child wouldn’t survive. Her decision saved the life of her unborn child.

If you do choose a C-section, one way to reduce some of the risk associated with it is to wait until close to your natural due date. Ideally, most babies should be born around 39 weeks. By the third trimester, most moms-to-be just want to get it over with. Hang in there just a little longer, if you can.

Why you should avoid a C-section

There’s no way around it: a C-section is a serious abdominal surgery, and like any other surgery it comes with significant risks and recovery time. A C-section puts a mother at risk for blood clots, complications from anesthesia and an emergency hysterectomy. The procedure usually requires a longer hospital stay, often around five days.

Financially, a C-section will invariably end up costing more, which may be why less ethical doctors are staunch advocates. At Samitivej Hospital, a C-section will set you back at least THB68,700—almost THB24,000 more than a natural birth.

A C-section also carries risks for the baby. Infants born from voluntary C-sections tend to have higher rates of respiratory problems and mortality rates. That doesn’t mean that perfectly healthy babies can’t be born from a C-section, but it does mean it’s a decision you should think about carefully.

Photo Credit: Philippe Put via Compfight cc

What is the situation on VBAC (Vaginal Birth After C-Section) and what are the risks?

By ExpectingExpats.com

What is the situation on VBAC (Vaginal Birth After C-Section) and what are the risks (in terms of statistics) of trying it? What are there benefits and risks? According to

By ExpectingExpats.com

What is the situation on VBAC (Vaginal Birth After C-Section) and what are the risks (in terms of statistics) of trying it? What are there benefits and risks?

According to standard textbook, there is no doubt that vaginal delivery most often will prove to be safe following a previous cesarean section. Numerous reports have been published that confirm the safety of VBAC. The success rate is more than 80%. The incidence of maternal mortality is one per 1000. Even with these successful outcomes, the risks which you should be concerned with include uterine rupture, and consequences such as fetal distress, hypoxia, perinatal morbidity and mortality are 0.5%.

Yaowaluk Rapeepattana, M.D.
Obstetrics-Gynecology
Samitivej Hospital

Natural Birth: It’s a Spiritual Affair

Natural Birth: It’s a Spiritual Affair

By Samitivej Hospital

A Natural Birth Q & A with Dr. Yaowaluk Rapeepattana, M.D., Obstetrician – Gynecologist at Samitivej Hospital in Bangkok, Thailand . . .

By Samitivej Hospital

This is an article from our “Doctor’s Corner” series, brought to you by Samitivej Hospital. Make sure to read the entire series!

It’s a question that crosses the minds of almost all mothers-to-be, natural birth or cesarean section. And it’s a questions with no definite answer. All mothers-to-be have the authority to make their own choice between natural birth or planned cesarean, unless, of course, some complication arises that makes a C-section a necessity. But for those for whom the choice remains within their power, Yaowaluk Rapeepattana, obstetrician and gynaecologist at Samitivej Hospital Women’s Center, shares some ideas as to why she thinks a natural birth should be the answer.

Natural Childbirth a Spiritual Affair

Why would you recommend natural birth over planned cesarean?

Because nature is better. There is a lot of published data that shows if a woman can succeed with natural birth we should not do a cesarean unnecessarily. Cesareans pose more complications for the mother than natural birth.

What about mothers who say they prefer a cesarean?

Of course we accept that some women request cesarean sections. We respect what they choose. It is my personal opinion that everyone has a right to choose what, where or with whom they want to give birth – as long as they have the correct information. But let’s go back to the history of the cesarean section. Cesareans first happened when we needed to save the baby’s life – when a natural birth wasn’t possible (such as abnormal position), or the baby was in danger (such as when the umbilical cord was wrapped around its neck), or an abnormal placenta location or low lying placenta. In those cases a cesarean section would save the baby’s life, or even the mother’s life.

Since then it seems that planned cesarean has become more popular. It’s a cultural thing. You believe, ‘yes respect the rights,’ but now you want to promote natural birth. Is that correct?

Yes. We want to do the best for families because cesarean sections have complications for mothers more often than natural birth – for example, infection and bleeding.

Yes, but what about soreness or pain? Is one method more painful than the other?

We cannot compare the pain. I always tell my patients, you cannot expect a cesarean section to be less painful than a natural birth. Of course, if you doubt it and decide to have a cesarean section, then you skip labour pain. You will have no labour pain, it’s true. But after the cesarean section you will have abdominal pain. Nobody can skip pain entirely. We have to accept that there are many types of pain in this world. We have to live with that pain. But it won’t last long. Every pain can be healed.

Does it make any difference to the baby if it’s natural birth or cesarean section?

With respect to how it affects the baby, there are thousands of publications with accepted data that show that a cesarean can decrease neo-natal mortality. Neo-natal mortality is mostly caused by hypoxia (oxygen deficiency). It is still about 5 per 1,000 newborn deliveries for natural birth. For cesarean sections it is less than 1 per thousand.

Looking for a doctor for your birth option questions? We recommend:
Yaowaluk RapeepattanaYaowaluk Rapeepattana, M.D.
Obstetrics – Gynecology, Samitivej Hospital
Questions about your pregnancy, child birth or life with an infant? Ask the Doctor!
Is there any impact on breast feeding if the mother has a cesarean or natural birth?

No, because if we give the baby to the mother right away and she starts breast feeding it will be the same. Breast feeding, or lactation, depends on how early you feed the baby and how frequently.

Is it possible to have a natural birth, if you’ve previously had a cesarean section?

Of course, I cannot guarantee 100%, but if you try natural birth after a cesarean section . . . the success rate is about 80%.

Do you have any comments on the advantages or disadvantages of water birth and natural birth?

Natural birth is almost the same as water birth, except with the latter you need to sit in a pool and the baby comes in the water. The mother needs to sit. She can neither lie on her back nor stand up.

What about the mother and father’s sex life after natural birth? Does natural birth cause dilation of the vagina or vulva?

Yes. We have to accept that the baby needs some space to come out. After natural, or vaginal, birth you need to do special exercises to keep your muscle as strong and as healthy as it used to be.

And the Woman’s Centre at Samitivej Hospital can advise on what kind of exercise to do?

Yes, we always do that. We also provide an antenatal class at Samitivej Sukhumvit Hospital. We’re committed to helping expecting and new parents prepare for pregnancy, childbirth, and early parenthood. Our programs are led by experienced childbirth educators.

During natural birth, are some women scared that they won’t have the strength to finish the delivery – that it’s too hard physically?

No, not really – as long as you prepare yourself well before delivery such as with exercise and rest and have healthy food and support. You need to believe in yourself – believe that you can do it.

You recommend exercise, diet and plenty of sleep – exercise for nine months or for how long?

From after the first trimester until delivery, and after delivery as well. But we don’t push the patient. We just want the best for the delivery. It is one of the most important experiences in our lives. We want our patients to be safe – safety comes first. And happy too. We want the parents to be happy, the baby to be happy, everyone to be happy.

What about the differences in the recovery time for planned cesarean sections versus natural birth? How long does it take mom to get back to normal?

It depends on how long the delivery was. If it’s not the first delivery, it can be very quick. Especially if after the first baby the perineum does not tear. There will be no wound, no scar. So they’ll feel very little pain.

Some moms may want to bring their nanny or midwife along with them. Are they allowed to do that?

I don’t mind. Everyone is welcome to the delivery room, as long as the mother is happy. Even the whole family can come.

The hospital allows anyone to come into the delivery room?

Yes – with the permission of the mother.

What advice would you give to fathers who want to join their wives in the delivery room?

First of all, I think the husband is the most important person. The mom needs someone she loves to be with her. I think that it is very important to have someone you love [with you], and for them to stay with you at that moment. To prepare you, support you, and help you be strong physically and mentally. The husband shouldn’t panic if their beloved wife screams or cries or moans. Just try to support her. But everyone is different. Some women may like to be quiet. Some of them just want to have everybody stay quiet, just be calm. But some may need some support. Everyone is different. That’s why we write down the mother’s wishes on the “birth plan paper,” so we will know what she wants – as long as it’s safe, we will follow it.

Tell us more about the birth plan paper.

The concept is about what the mom wants when she is in labour, for example the environment. Does she want the room to be light or dark? What kind of music would she like? Does she want to bring her own music? Does she want everyone to be quiet or try to talk to her? Everyone is different. Does she want someone to massage her? Or she may not want anyone to touch her. Does she want us to lead her, to tell her when to push? Or Does she want to push on her own? And what position Does she want to be in when she gives birth – sitting, standing, lying down, or squatting.

A lot of young women giving birth for the first time would like the hospital to advise them what to do.

Yes. I always tell them that labour pain is nothing to be afraid of. You can be happy, because during labour your brain will produce hormones like oxytocin which will make you feel happy and help you bond with your newborn baby. There’s nothing to fear. You can enjoy the ride. Labour pain is like a cramp in your tummy. It will come and go, come and go. At last it may come every few minutes before you give birth. But you know that if the pain comes, it will go and then come again. The pain will dilate your cervix and then your lovely baby will soon come out. It means you’re going to see your baby. In our lifetime many events or situations happen like this. Sometimes after it rains you see a beautiful cloud or sky. You need to imagine something strong and beautiful like your new born baby.

I’m sensing that having a baby is as much a spiritual and mental challenge as a physical one?

Yes. You should be happy to be a mother. Labour pain is a privilege for women only. You should enjoy that. It’s nothing to be afraid of. Or at least you can try. I don’t mean that we push you. If you cannot cope with the pain – because people’s pain thresholds are different – if you ask for a pain killer, it’s also available. At least you can try without first and see how it goes.

In your experience, the most successful natural births happen to what kind of mothers? Are they mostly spiritually strong people, happy people first and foremost?

The first thing is the attitude. There is greater success among mothers who have a strong desire to succeed with natural birth. I don’t blame anyone who asks for epidural block or pain killer, because sometimes it depends on the baby’s position or the size of the baby. If the size of the baby is too big or the position is not right it can be more painful than a smaller baby, or a baby in the right position. I never blame my patients, because there are many factors.

With a planned cesarean you know that you will have your baby in at, say, 8 o’clock on a Saturday morning. But with a natural birth, it can be anytime within a few days, within a week, so that uncertainty might cause women to choose a planned cesarean?

As long as the baby is strong and the mother is strong, then there is no limit on the time. Some research shows that too long labour may have some effect on the baby. But we can monitor that. Nowadays we have instruments to measure if the baby is at risk or not.

Samitivej, We Care!

Yaowaluk Rapeepattana, M.D.
Obstetrics-Gynecology
Samitivej Sukhumvit Hospital

For further information, please contact:

Child Health Institute
Samitivej Sukhumvit Hospital
2st Floor, Building 2
Tel: 66 (0) 2711-8236-7
Call Center: 66 (0) 2711-8181
E-mail: info@samitivej.co.th
Facebook: www.facebook.com/samitivej

Photo Credit: Nina Matthews Photography via Compfight cc


Are you pregnant and looking for medical care?

Water birth room virtual tour

Samitivej Hospital Natural Birth Room – Virtual Tour

By ExpectingExpats.com

Take a tour of Samitivej Hospital’s Natural Birth Room, and learn about all of the features that will make your birth experience safe, pleasant and memorable . . .

By ExpectingExpats.com

Virtual tour

Welcome to a virtual tour of the Samitivej Hospital Natural Birth Room.

To begin the tour, click the play button above.

After the tour loads, you can use your mouse to move around the room.

  • Use the SHIFT key to zoom in
  • Use the CONTROL key to zoom out
  • Click on the hospital logo hot spots to view videos of room features

Could you advise which doctors at Samitivej Hospital support vaginal birth after caesarean (VBAC)?

By ExpectingExpats.com

Please could you advise which doctors at Samitivej support VBAC? I really want a doctor who has experience of VBAC and will genuinely support my desire to birth naturally, despite

By ExpectingExpats.com

Please could you advise which doctors at Samitivej support VBAC? I really want a doctor who has experience of VBAC and will genuinely support my desire to birth naturally, despite my previous c-section (4 years ago). I have heard some doctors say ‘yes’, but then as the due date gets closer they start to push for a repeat c-section.

According to standard textbooks, there is no doubt that vaginal delivery most often will prove to be safe following a previous cesarean section. Numerous reports have been published that confirm the safety of VBAC. The success rate is more than 80%. The incidence of maternal mortality is one per 1000. Even with these successful outcomes, the risks which you should be concerned with include uterine rupture, and consequences such as fetal distress, hypoxia, perinatal morbidity and mortality are 0.5%.

Therefore, ACOG (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) has made the following recommendations describing women who should NOT try a VBAC delivery. These women include:

  • Women with a high vertical (or classical, T-shaped) incision on the uterus (If you aren’t sure what type of uterine incision was used, check the operative report from your prior C-section.)
  • Women with a history of extensive uterine surgery
  • Women with a small pelvis or delivering a large baby – it may not be safe for the baby to pass through the pelvis
  • Women with a medical problem or obstetric condition, such as Placenta Previa or Abruptio Placentae
  • Women delivering in a hospital without an available medical team for VBAC monitoring and emergency C-section
  • Women having suffered a prior uterine rupture
  • Women with more than two prior C-sections and no previous vaginal deliveries

Ref: http://www.acog.org/So If you are considering to have a VBAC, you should first discuss with your health care provider the risks and benefits for both you and your baby. The conditions are different for everyone, and it is important to seek guidance from your health care provider to discuss your options.

Since you don’t mention your preference for a male doctor or female doctor please let us provide the following recommendations of doctors who support VBAC:

If you prefer a female doctor, please contact Yaowaluk Rapeepattana, M.D. You can check her doctor’s profile at:

Yaowaluk Rapeepattana, M.D.

If you prefer a female doctor, please contact Nisarat Kasatri, MRTCOG, FICS M.D. You can check her doctor’s profile at:

Nisarat Kasatri , MRTCOG, FICS M.D.

If you prefer a male doctor, please contact Sankiat Vayakornvichit, M.D. You can check his doctor’s profile at:

Sankiat Vayakornvichit, M.D.

Should you need any further information, please feel free to send your inquiries to:
info@samitivej.co.th

If you are not currently in Bangkok, you can contact us to set up an appointment in advance of your arrival. We look forward to hearing from you.

Thank you very much,

Samitivej Women’s Health Center

Samitivej Hospital

We’re looking for a doctor who is pro-natural (and possibly water birth) in Bangkok. Would you have any one you can recommend?

By ExpectingExpats.com

We’re looking for a doctor who is pro-natural (and possibly water birth) in Bangkok. Would you have any one you can recommend? I’m mid way through my pregnancy and we

By ExpectingExpats.com

We’re looking for a doctor who is pro-natural (and possibly water birth) in Bangkok. Would you have any one you can recommend? I’m mid way through my pregnancy and we will be moving to Bangkok in a month or 2. Thanks!

Congratulations on your pregnancy and your upcoming move to Bangkok.

Since you don’t mention your preference for a male doctor or female doctor please let us provide recommendations for both:

If you prefer a female doctor, please contact Yaowaluk Rapeepattana, M.D. You can check her doctor’s profile at:

Yaowaluk Rapepattana profile

Or if you prefer a male doctor, please contact Sankiat Vayakornvichit, M.D. You can check his doctor’s profile at:

Sankiat Vayakornvichit profile

Should you need any further information, please feel free to send your inquiries to:

info@samitivej.co.th

You can contact us to set up an appointment in advance of your arrival in Bangkok. We look forward to hearing from you.

Thank you very much,

Samitivej Women’s Health Center


Are you planning to give birth in Thailand?

Planning on giving birth abroad

Planning on giving birth abroad?

By Samitivej Hospital

Here are some insights I found personally helpful when making the decision to deliver abroad . . .

By Samitivej Hospital

This is an article from our “Doctor’s Corner” series, brought to you by Samitivej Hospital. Make sure to read the entire series!

As the clock ticks down to the approaching birth of your baby, what you are feeling is probably unexplainable; a combination of excitement, fear, anxiety and a lot of other heightened emotions. As a mom-to-be, as the moment is approaching, I feel differently all the time, sometimes I can’t wait, other times I’m quite nervous. It often gets even more intimidating if you’re planning the baby in a foreign soil. So I shared my concerns with Doctor Yaowaluk Rapeepattana, a highly experienced Obstetrician- Gynocologist at Samitivej Hospital. Here are some insights I found personally helpful when making the decision to deliver abroad. It helped prepare my family and me on what to expect and made the experience very smooth. I’m glad I went there to have our little princess.

Planning on giving birth abroad

Why should we choose Bangkok?
Bangkok has the facilities and medical equipment that can fulfill your desires. At least I can confidently say that about Samitivej Hospital. We are ready to serve you. We have state of the art equipment accompanied by a well-trained and serviced-minded team. Our doctors can deliver your baby any way you prefer provided your pregnancy condition permits. Whether you would like a completely natural delivery (in water or outside), natural birth with epidural, spinal or caudal blocks, vaginal or forceps delivery or cesarean delivery, we can do it all. We can even do the VBAC delivery if needed. Samitivej Hospital is very specialized and well equipped when it comes to childbirth.

In fact I believe our country as a whole is ready to be the medical hub for the next two years. We’ve got the latest technology and the cost is affordable. Not to forget that the service, which is what Thailand is renowned for, is great, especially in private hospitals.

How should we contact the hospital?
You can call or email us with any enquiries; you don’t necessarily have to fly here during the early stages. Personally I prefer emails over calls for a remote consultancy so that the message is clear and can be referred to whenever needed. In a call there is a possibility that a word is missed or misunderstood and that could change the meaning entirely.

At what stage of my pregnancy should we plan our travel and for how long?
I recommend you travel by your 36th week if not earlier. After 36 weeks, the baby is due anytime. Having said that, it doesn’t mean you’ll go into labor the same week. For some, labor pain starts at 37 weeks, for others it may even be on the 41st or 42nd week. Consult your doctor about your travelling plans to make sure everything is okay and that you’re fit to travel. Your gynecologist should be able to assure you that you will not go into labor while traveling. As for how long you need to stay, it depends. If the delivery is normal, you can walk right out after delivery, although we usually recommend at least a week of post delivery stay so that we can keep a check on you and the newborn.

Looking for a doctor for your birth option questions? We recommend:
Yaowaluk RapeepattanaYaowaluk Rapeepattana, M.D.
Obstetrics – Gynecology, Samitivej Hospital
Questions about your pregnancy, child birth or life with an infant? Ask the Doctor!

What is the procedure to expect once I arrive at Samitivej Hospital?
First we will briefly interview you to find out about your family’s medical history and then we will perform a general check-up and scan if needed. We also examine your breasts as we encourage breast feeding. And if it’s your first time visiting, we show you the labor room and our nursery so you become familiar with our facilities, our equipment and our staff.

How can I mentally and physically prepare myself for labour?
For the first delivery I recommend you, and if possible your spouse, to join our child birth preparation class. You may have already read a lot, since in today’s day and age you can get unlimited information from various sources, but it’s important to make sure you’re getting advice based on your personal case, as well as some practice. This class has everything you need to know and do. It includes both theory and practice in which our assisting staff prepare you for what to expect and how you’re likely to feel during labor. You can attend the class when you come during the 36th week, but it’s recommended you book it ahead of time to reserve a space. You can do so via email stating you’d like to join ‘The childbirth preparation’ class. We encourage your companion, be it your husband, mother or friend, to join you so they understand what you will be going through and how they can support you in the best way.

Any tips on how we can prepare for the trip?
Most importantly, make sure you have packed all your reports including blood tests and scan results. Do some research about the city, in this case Bangkok, so you know what to expect and what to pack. During the flight, wear long socks to avoid embolism and walk every now and then between periods of rest. It would be preferable if you travel via first class so you can lie down and rest. Drink lots of liquid (plain water should be fine) and avoid spicy food because that could lead to diarrhea. That should be good to get you through the flight smoothly. See you soon!

Other Administrative Tips That May Be Useful
Insurance: Find out what your insurance will and won’t cover. Does it cover prenatal tests? See if there is a reimbursement limit and how much of it you’ve used up in the tests and how much is left for the delivery. You can have the hospital help you through the procedure, or you can just take the bills back for reimbursement.

Visa: Samitivej provides an appointment letter from your doctor, which you’ll need when applying for your visa. Again you can apply yourself, or get the hospital staff to assist you. If required the hospital can help you get a visa extension.

Citizenship: If either of the parents is a Thai citizen, then the newborn can get Thai citizenship too, but if neither of the parents are then the newborn gets the home country’s citizenship.

Residence: If you need help with the stay, Samitivej Hospital will give you a list of nearby apartments that you can choose from but you’ll have to contact directly.

Samitivej, We Care!

For further information, please contact:

Child Health Institute
Samitivej Sukhumvit Hospital
2st Floor, Building 2
Tel: 66 (0) 2711-8236-7
Call Center: 66 (0) 2711-8181
E-mail: info@samitivej.co.th
Facebook: www.facebook.com/samitivej

Photo Credit: {Charlotte.Morrall} via Compfight cc

Traveling to Bangkok for birth

Traveling to Bangkok to Give Birth, Part 2: Getting There

By ExpectingExpats.com

Every mama-to-be gets a little nervous about traveling, especially when it comes to air travel. That’s totally normal. When you’re watching out for another very small and fragile life, you want to take every possible precaution . . .

By ExpectingExpats.com

This is the second 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 1 – Choosing a Hospital!

So you’ve weighed the pros and cons and you’ve decided to pack your bags and head to the Thai capital for the big day. As you’re probably already aware, you’ll have access to some of the region’s best medical care, with first-world facilities and services provided at a very attractive price. After you’ve picked the city, the hospital and the doctor though, there are still a few issues all expat parents must address.

Traveling to Bangkok for birth

Flying while pregnant

Every mama-to-be gets a little nervous about traveling, especially when it comes to air travel. That’s totally normal. When you’re watching out for another very small and fragile life, you want to take every possible precaution.

Luckily, flying while pregnant is safe as long as you take a few things into consideration. First of all, make sure you talk to your doctor at home well in advance of your planned trip to Bangkok. While most mothers should not have any trouble flying, in some high-risk cases, it may be better to stick close to home. The doctor may also point out certain conditions such as anemia, placental insufficiency or sickle cell disease that could put both mother and child at risk. In these cases, the doctor might give the mother supplemental oxygen, or ask you to avoid the trip altogether. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, and if your physician tells you not to take to the skies, start looking for a local alternative while there’s still plenty of time.

That being said, if you have a healthy pregnancy, you can make the trip a bit easier by timing it carefully. Try to avoid flying during the first trimester, when morning sickness may force you to dash to the tiny airplane bathroom an uncomfortable number of times. You also want to skip flying after 36 weeks, so make sure to book your trip well before your due date. In general, your second trimester (between weeks 14 and 27) is the best time to go and carries the lowest level of risk.

The good news about this is that you have a fantastic excuse to spend a few extra weeks living it up in Bangkok before your new family member arrives. Consider it an impromptu vacation and take the time to pamper yourself a bit as you adjust to the city.

Visa issues

Expecting parents often ask if a baby born in Bangkok will automatically receive Thai citizenship, or if there will be any difficulties in leaving the country with the newborn. The short answers are “no” and “no.” Although your child will have a Thai birth certificate, they can only apply for citizenship if one or both parents is a Thai national.

If and when you decide to leave the country, you will need to show officials the baby’s birth certificate. Be sure to leave extra time at the airport to avoid stress. Aside from that, different countries have different regulations regarding citizenship and dual citizenship, so check with your embassy in advance to see what you need to do.

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

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

By ExpectingExpats.com

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 . . .

By ExpectingExpats.com

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

What options are available to parents in Thailand in regards to umbilical cord banking?

By ExpectingExpats.com

What options are available to parents in Thailand in regards to umbilical cord banking? At Samitivej Sukhumvit, we do not have an umbilical cord banking service. Instead you can directly

By ExpectingExpats.com

What options are available to parents in Thailand in regards to umbilical cord banking?

At Samitivej Sukhumvit, we do not have an umbilical cord banking service. Instead you can directly contact an umbilical banking company. One of the companies listed below should be able to take care of your needs.

Samitivej Women’s Health Center


Do you have questions about your expat baby born in Thailand?

How to apply for foreign citizenship for children born in Thailand

How to apply for foreign citizenship for children born in Thailand

By Jodie

One thing that is truly different about having a baby abroad is all the paperwork involved in registering a child’s birth and gaining citizenship from your ‘home’ country . . .

By Jodie

One thing that is truly different about having a baby abroad is all the paperwork involved in registering a child’s birth and gaining citizenship from your ‘home’ country. This dilemma can be compounded if you and your partner happen to hold different nationalities.

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To be honest, none of this had even occurred to my husband and I until a few weeks before my due date. It was only when someone asked us what nationality our child would be, Canadian or British, that we realized that we had some things to think about.

Fortunately, the process turned out to be much easier and straightforward than we anticipated. The staff at Samitivej Sukhumvit were more than helpful and obviously very accustomed to dealing with this somewhat unique situation.

What to do before you leave the hospital

It’s important to know that children born to non-Thai citizens in Thailand have no recourse to Thai citizenship. In fact, it will be clearly stated on the child’s birth certificate that they are a person who “…illegally or temporarily resides in Thailand”.  This means that your child is effectively a stateless person until the time that you have that passport in your hands.

The hospital will provide you with the necessary documents to begin the paper trail. I would recommend that you bring with you, to the hospital, originals (and copies) of both parents’ passport and a copy of the marriage certificate (if you have one, just to be safe). The hospital will take a picture of your child when they are about 1 day old. My advice would be to buy as many copies of that picture as are offered. You simply don’t know how many you may need to submit to various agencies.

The hospital also offered us notarised English translations of the Thai birth certificate for an additional fee.[1] Again, I urge you to buy multiple copies as some embassies will not accept photocopies. Keep in mind that, unless you plan on residing permanently in Thailand for the rest of your child’s life, whenever a birth certificate is required in future you will need to provide a notarized translation.[2] At Samitivej, they are currently able to translate documents into French and English only. Due to an agreement with the Japanese government, the hospital is able to assist Japanese nationals in gaining a birth certificate directly from the embassy.

Once all the proper documentation has been submitted, the processing time is roughly 7 to 10 working days. We were given the option of having the birth certificate mailed to us or picking it up in person at the hospital.

Applying for a passport and citizenship

I found this process to be surprisingly straightforward. In our case, we opted to apply for a Canadian passport and citizenship over dual citizenship for two simple reasons. One, a child’s Canadian passport costs roughly 600 baht and a British passport costs roughly 9,000 baht.[3] Two, for obvious reasons, children’s passports must be updated more frequently than adult passports. We did not see the value in having to incur the additional expense and hassle while our boys are still young. And, unless the laws are likely to change anytime soon, they have many years ahead of them to apply for a British passport. If you wish, you may register a child’s birth in the UK via the British embassy without going through the formality of acquiring a passport. These certificates can be used as proof of citizenship and take about a 12 months to process.

For Canadians, a passport application and a citizenship application can be made at the same time. I would recommend doing both simultaneously and as soon as possible. While each of my children’s passport applications took roughly 2 weeks to come back, citizenship took much much longer. In the case of my eldest, it took 10 months and in the case of my youngest, it took closer to a year.

Visas for children born in Thailand to foreign parents

From all that I’ve been able to cobble together, and my own personal experience, it would seem that children born to foreign parents in Thailand do not require a ‘visa’ until the age of seven. That is assuming that they do not leave the country during that entire time. Otherwise, you are free to leave the country with your infant/child, provided you have a valid passport[4]. If you are a foreign Thai resident, you must obtain a ‘Non-immigrant B’ visa for your child[5] before returning to Thailand. A ‘tourist’ visa cannot be converted into a residency permit with multiple re-entry privileges. If your child (re)enters Thailand on a tourist visa, they will be subject to all the laws that pertain to that. In layman’s terms, that means that at least one parent will end up doing an easily unavoidable visa run with the child before 90 days are up. Obviously,this law also applies to foreign Thai residents who opt to return ‘home’ for the birth of their child. Our employer was very clear about giving us this information beforehand yet I know of many other parents whose employers have not been as clear about this.

As with anything, forewarned is forearmed when it comes to having a baby. Overseas or not.


[1] Do check with your embassy ahead of time as I’ve heard that some have very particular rules when it comes to acceptable translation agencies.

[2] Things such as school or university applications, driver’s license, social insurance number, marriage certificates spring to mind: just to name a few.

[3] Or at least those were the prices when we were applying.

[4] We encountered a bit of a hassle at immigration when we left Thailand for the first time with our son. They were unhappy that we didn’t have a ‘departure’ card in his passport. A quick glance at his Thai birth certificate cleared everything up.

[5] You can apply for this at any Thai embassy or consulate outside of Thailand. It does not need to be issued from your home country

Photo Credit: PHOTO ♥ BOOTH via Compfight cc


Are you a woman in Thailand looking for advice?

How to deal with child allergies in Thailand

What Should You Do When Your Child Has Allergies in Thailand?

By ExpectingExpats.com

Food allergies can be frightening, especially when you and your family have just moved to a new country. Here are some necessary precautions you should take in Thailand . . .

By ExpectingExpats.com

How to deal with child allergies in Thailand

Food allergies can be frightening, especially when you and your family have just moved to a new country. Here are some necessary precautions you should take in Thailand:

Make an appointment with a local doctor immediately
Allergies change, evolve and, in some lucky cases, disappear with time. If you’ve just moved to Thailand, it may be worth doing a full set of allergy tests (absolutely no fun, but potentially invaluable) to establish a baseline. At the very least, talk to the doctor about specific challenges you may run into while living in Bangkok.

Avoid street food
This one’s tough. Street food is an integral, and admittedly delicious, part of the local culture. Unfortunately, for a child suffering from severe food allergies, it’s simply too big of a risk. Street vendors tend to use the same cooking utensils for everything, usually without a thorough washing in between. Eggs, squid, shellfish, peanuts, gluten and other common triggers are nearly ubiquitous in Thai cuisine, and it’s hard to guarantee that a dish won’t have traces of something harmful.

Be careful of cross-contamination
Street stalls may be the most obvious place to watch out for cross-contamination, but they certainly aren’t the only one. When you go to a restaurant, be sure to mention your concerns to the staff or manager ahead of time. If you’re particularly worried, call ahead and go early in the evening, when cooking surfaces are cleanest and the kitchen has time to accommodate specific commands. Avoid deep-fried foods entirely, as most places reuse the cooking oil for just about everything, so there’s no way to know what it might have come in contact with.

Cross the language barrier
Is your Thai less than stellar? You don’t want to be forced to rely on gestures and broken sentences in the middle of a crisis. Carrying a card explaining what you are allergic to in Thai, such as the ones available at Select Wisely (selectwisely.com), will avoid any communication problems.

Carry an EPI pen at all times
This small, highly portable device could save your child’s life. Make sure you and all of your children know how to use it properly and keep it with you as a backup.

Do some research
Did your child just get invited to a birthday party? Call the other kid’s parents and ask where it’s being held and what kind of food will be served. There’s no reason this has to come across as pushy or demanding. Just politely voice your concerns and make sure that your child will feel comfortable and safe. Most children don’t want to stand out because of their allergies; doing some discreet prep-work will ensure that they can have a good time without feeling embarrassed or anxious on the big day.

Carry safe foods when traveling
Kids are natural grazers. Most like to eat small amounts throughout the day to fuel their metabolisms, and, like the rest of us, get cranky when hungry. Throw a few hermetically sealed (ideally healthy) snacks in your purse to make sure they have something safe to nosh on when on the go.

Photo Credit: peg5450 via Compfight cc

We are moving to Thailand with a daughter of 15 months. What kind of vaccines would you reccommend.

By ExpectingExpats.com

We are moving to Thailand with a daughter of 15 months. What kind of vaccines would you reccommend. Thank you in advance for your answer. Although there is no special

By ExpectingExpats.com

We are moving to Thailand with a daughter of 15 months. What kind of vaccines would you reccommend. Thank you in advance for your answer.

Although there is no special requirement, the following are the recommended vaccinations for Thailand:

Vaccination for 12 months:

  • MMR
  • Japanese Encephalitis
  • Chicken Pox

Vaccination for 18 months:

  • DTap – the fourth dose (combinding Diphtheria, Pertussis and Tetanus)
  • Polio vaccine – the fourth dose
  • Hib – the fourth dose (Haemophilus Influenza)

Before vaccination, the pediatrician will check your baby’s immunization history from the vaccine book. If there is any required vaccine missing, then the pediatrician will suggest the appropriate vaccinations. Therefore please make sure to bring the vaccine book along with you.

Have a nice trip!

Piyarat Lertbunnaphong , M.D. Pediatrics
Pediatrics – Endocrinologist
Samitivej Hospital


Do you have questions about breast feeding?

Mother's milk is life giving

Mother’s Milk is Life Giving

By Samitivej Hospital

Doctors are telling new mothers, “don’t let misinformation prevent you from breastfeeding” . . .

By Samitivej Hospital

This is an article from our “Doctor’s Corner” series, brought to you by Samitivej Hospital. Make sure to read the entire series!

Expecting Expats thanks Anjana Sachabudhawong, M.D. for sharing this article from her blog, Happy Healthy Children.

Doctors are telling new mothers, “don’t let misinformation prevent you from breastfeeding.”

Breastfeeding is supposedly a natural phenomenon, as natural as childbirth itself. However, for most new mothers, it can prove to be rather frustrating since dealing with helpless newborns, who are unable to express themselves, can be particularly daunting, especially with no experience to fall back on. Thankfully, unlike parenting (which does not come with a manual), there is now a wealth of breastfeeding information available for young mothers. In light of declining rates for exclusive breastfeeding, support groups and organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO) also offer support systems to guide the new mother through the process of breastfeeding.

The World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) is a global network of individuals and organizations concerned with the protection, promotion, and support of breastfeeding worldwide. WABA will celebrate World Breastfeeding Week from August 1-7. This year, the theme is circles of support for breastfeeding mothers. The celebration is a recognition of the need for support for the breastfeeding mother, whether from facilitative health care systems or proactive legislative measures or encouraging family and friends.

Shying away for all the wrong reasons

A pediatrician specializing in Neonatology and Lactation from Samitivej Sukhumvit Hospital notes, “According to the Thai Breastfeeding Society, the average rate of exclusive breastfeeding in Thailand is 33%.” To the doctor, the decline in breastfeeding rates is inexplicable. “If you leave a mother and child alone in the first hour after birth, what we call the golden hour, the baby will find the breast and suckle. Once you lose that instinct, you have to re-learn and it becomes a struggle.” Hospital policies, c-sections to cater to convenience and superstitions, lack of knowledge about breastfeeding among medical staff, and the overall medicalization of the reproductive process have disrupted the natural rhythm of the mother and child.

Myths surrounding breastfeeding and the rampant popularity of breast milk substitutes do not help matters either. Working mums give up breastfeeding and switch to substitutes when they return to work after maternity leave. Some women even believe that breast milk substitutes are more beneficial to infants. In some countries, tradition has it that a few days after birth the infant must be started on other foods. Some mothers fear that they might not produce enough milk for their babies.

Busting myths

Breastfeeding mothers can, with the help of encouraging employers, express milk and store it. Like many food products, breast milk can be safely stored in a refrigerator and used later. So, breastfeeding need not stop when mothers return to work at the end of their maternity leave. A pediatrician explains, “It needs very little effort on the part of the employer to provide a room where mothers can pump milk and a refrigerator where this can be stored. Mothers can take the refrigerated milk home at the end of the day and leave it at home for the infant to be fed the next day.”

Colostrum, or the first milk that a lactating mother produces, is thick and yellow in color. In many cultures this is considered dirty or unhealthy and mothers are warned not to breastfeed their baby for the first few days after birth. Doctors point out that this milk is actually rich with nutrients essential to a newborn. Over time, the milk thins and changes color but is still packed with helpful antibodies. Doctors advocate feeding babies nothing but breast milk for the first six months of their life because no breast milk substitute can provide the same amount of nutrients.

A nurse and midwife at Samitivej Hospital, specializing in lactation and certified by the International Board of Lactation Consultants, points out, “The most important difference between breast milk and any substitutes is this: breast milk is ‘live’ food. Formula is processed food. Breast milk has no expiry date. It is always fresh, always good, and always safe for the child. It is difficult for an infant to process the additives in substitutes.”

Doctors say that the amount of milk a mother produces is not restricted by the size of her breasts. In fact, when a woman is breastfeeding, her body produces hormones that, in turn, produce the milk the baby needs. So, in the absence of a medical condition, a mother should be able to produce enough milk for her baby. Hospitals today are staffed with lactation consultants who can help with such problems. Nurse explains, “Every government hospital in Thailand now has a lactation clinic. There is a lot of progress in hospital practices and in supporting breastfeeding. Many offices have breastfeeding spaces. If such a space can be included in public places like malls, it would be good. However, people tend to stare at breastfeeding mothers. Breastfeeding is not indecent exposure; it is a caring, bonding experience. This attitude in society needs to change. Breastfeeding is everybody’s issue. It is not just the mother’s or a hospital’s issue. Everyone has to support mothers, who must, in turn, fight for the right to breastfeed their babies.”

A not-to-be-missed experience

The nurse continues, “Mothers need support immediately after birth. There is a lot of work and very little education. They are told that babies sleep 10-12 hours a day, but they don’t understand that babies probably do so in 10 small installments.”

A pediatrician adds, “Mothers complain that babies are too sleepy, not latching on, not sucking. Often mothers do not know what they are doing wrong. Formula manufacturers say feed every 4 hours and that’s what people do, whereas it would be more natural to feed the baby whenever it is hungry.”

Mothers with genuine health problems and infants who are unable to nurse must, of course, have recourse to alternative measures. However, healthy mothers should not miss out on the experience of breastfeeding. New mothers might face physical problems — breast infection, inverted nipples, cracked or bleeding nipples, clogged ducts, babies that find it tough to latch on — and emotional problems — not knowing why your baby is crying or feelings of inadequacy or helplessness. However, help is at hand. Don’t miss out on an amazing experience because you are too afraid to ask for help is what the doctors say.

“The smell of the baby, the feel of the baby, the bonding that occurs as a mother holds a child close and nurses it at her breast — this is good for mothers and for children. When a mother breastfeeds her child, she gives it more than just nutrition, she gives it life,” the nurse adds.

Samitivej, We Care!

For further information, please contact:

Child Health Institute
Samitivej Sukhumvit Hospital
2st Floor, Building 2
Tel: 66 (0) 2711-8236-7
Call Center: 66 (0) 2711-8181
E-mail: info@samitivej.co.th
Facebook: www.facebook.com/samitivej

Photo Credit: www.photographybyjoelle.com via Compfight cc

I have breast implants. Will I still be able to breastfeed?

By ExpectingExpats.com

I am three months pregnant and starting to plan for having a newborn. I have breast implants. Will I still be able to breastfeed? Of course, you can breastfeed just

By ExpectingExpats.com

I am three months pregnant and starting to plan for having a newborn. I have breast implants. Will I still be able to breastfeed?

Of course, you can breastfeed just like other moms. The implants are inserted under your breast tissue and don’t affect lactation at all. Enjoy being a mom!

Yaowaluk Rapeepattana , M.D.
Specialist in OB/GYN
Samitivej Hospital


Do you have medical questions about your pregnancy?

Is it normal to have abdominal pains and cramps within 9 weeks of pregnancy?

By ExpectingExpats.com

Is it a normal pregnancy routine to have abdominal pains and cramps within 9 weeks of pregnancy? It is quite normal for occasional slight abdominal pain or cramps during 9

By ExpectingExpats.com

Is it a normal pregnancy routine to have abdominal pains and cramps within 9 weeks of pregnancy?

It is quite normal for occasional slight abdominal pain or cramps during 9 weeks of pregnancy due to an enlarged uterus with increased blood supply in this area. However, if the pain persists or becomes progressive, or if it is joined with some vaginal spotting, then you should meet your obstetrician for ultrasonography to rule out threatened abortion and evaluate fetal size, fetal heart activities, and placental implantation site and/or retroplacental bleeding if any.

If you would like more information, please do not hesitate to ask.

Sincerely,
Phunsak Suchonwanit, M.D.
Samitivej Hospital

Can I do hot bikram yoga while I’m pregnant?

By ExpectingExpats.com

Hi, can I do hot bikram yoga while I’m pregnant? If yes, when during my pregnancy should I stop? Thank you. I strongly disagree. Pregnant women should not do hot

By ExpectingExpats.com

Hi, can I do hot bikram yoga while I’m pregnant? If yes, when during my pregnancy should I stop? Thank you.

I strongly disagree. Pregnant women should not do hot Bikram yoga because it raises their body temperature. Some women may be at risk from the extreme temperature.

The American Pregnancy Association cautions against exposing yourself to excessive heat while being pregnant. Raising temperature above 101 degrees F could affect the development of your baby.

Chirapan Vinaikulpong, M.D.
Rehabilitation Medicine
Samitivej Hospital