I’ve just had my first baby, little Elodie Rose ten days ago (hurray!) so I wanted to write about my experience of being pregnant in Hong Kong while it’s all still very fresh in my (sleep-deprived) mind! I’ve been getting emails from blog readers over the past few months asking various questions about obstetricians, hospitals, shopping and beauty, so I wanted to try to give some information about some of the great resources I found which might be helpful if you are also expecting a baby. I have to say, as you hear repeated ad nauseum if you are preggers, each pregnancy is different, so what worked for me might not work for you and also, I am by no means an expert so if you have any great tips, please leave them in the comments section below. We’re starting off by looking at staying healthy during your pregnancy…
The first thing you will need to decide nearly as soon as you confirm your pregnancy, is whether you will go public or private with the hospital you give birth in. There are honestly pros and cons to both – a large public hospital like the Queen Mary in Pok Fu Lam for instance has the benefit of having a great special-care baby unit in case your baby is born premature or with health issues (even if you give birth at other hospitals your baby will most likely be taken here if they need special assistance). On the flip side the Queen Mary has very short visiting hours so if you are placed on bed rest, your partner/family will only be able to visit you for a short period each day and the rest of the day you’ll be on a public ward. The Matilda, the private hospital on the Peak that I ended up giving birth at, has wonderfully comfortable rooms and no limit on visiting hours, but of course has a hefty price tag to match, so you’ll need to make sure you have some good health insurance in place before you opt for this location.
Certain obstetricians only work at particular hospitals, so you will need to either choose your hospital or your doctor first, as either one will limit your choice of the second. If you choose to go with a public hospital, you may still want to use the private system to some extent for your pre-natal checkups, as with the public system you do not have nearly as many ultra-sound scans which I found I looked forward to very much in order to check my baby’s progress. If you’d like to learn more about the reputations of various obstetricians in Hong Kong, check out the forums of Geobaby.com – just remember, take all the opinions with a bit of a pinch of salt as everyone needs to find the right personality profile that works for them. I chose Dr Grace Cheung at Central Health Medical as my obstetrician and was very happy with her.
A great Hong Kong resource to supplement your pregnancy healthcare is Annerley, a company set up by a midwife and a health visitor/sleep consultant, who provide amazing pre and post-natal courses and support through their experienced team. They operate out of a Central location in LKF and as well as their class schedule and expert advice, they also have a small boutique selling specialist products not available elsewhere in Hong Kong. I attended their antenatal classes, and also booked in a series of 5 visits with one of their midwives who comes to my home each week to see how I’m getting on with breastfeeding, weigh Elodie and answer any questions I might have. I’ve found this absolutely invaluable and would definitely recommend all first time mums consider this.
One of the mistakes I made during my pregnancy was to allow my exercise schedule to be completely knocked off course by first trimester tiredness and morning sickness. Even though I knew that long walks and yoga would make me feel better in the long run, all I wanted to do was stay in bed all day and avoid moving as much as possible! A couple of things I did really enjoy though were going for walks on Bowen Road, and the Prenatal Fitness classes at Pure Fitness in SoHo. The Prenatal Fitness classes are run by two fab women called Zosha and Dora, and they are a total lifesaver if you’re struggling with feeling a bit isolated in your pregnancy – I made friends with other girls in my class and developed a real sense of cameraderie with them that is continuing beyond birth to hanging out with our babies!
I also (though I didn’t go nearly often enough as the times were a little tricky for me) loved Nealy Fisher‘s Prenatal Yoga classes at Pure Yoga in Central. Nealy manages to fuse a no-nonsense practicality that comes from being a mum-of-three with a softly spiritual outlook that encourages you to get in touch with the strength inside you.
Finally, I can’t recommend The Sutherland-Chan Centre‘s prenatal massages highly enough. They’re not just stroking and soothing, but the therapists will really get right into the root of those pregnancy aches and pains, as well as providing helpful advice on exercises you can do at home to prevent back and joint problems.