Whether this is your first child or your fifth, being pregnant is an exciting and wonderful experience. Sometimes, however, it can also be a stressful experience, especially when living in a country that you didn’t grow up. It can be difficult finding your way into motherhood without your usual family support system and without speaking the local language. This page will be able to give you general advice on how to take care of yourself and your new baby while living in Korea.
Giving birth in Korea shouldn’t be that much of a different experience from giving birth in any other industrial country. South Korea has an excellent healthcare system with affordable prices. With some research and thoughtful questions, you should be able to find a doctor whom you are both comfortable with and trust. Make sure you compare and contrast pricing and insurance with doctors you visit. Expats have experienced price gouging before, and it might be important to figure out these prices in advance to avoid those types of practices.
If there’s special food that you want to consume while pregnant or after giving birth, be sure to check ahead and see if it’s available in Korea. If you check on gmarket or other online sites, it might be possible to have it shipped into Korea. You should also check ahead for the type of food given in Korean hospitals post-birth. While most hospitals won’t serve anything spicy or unhealthy, seaweed soup is considered to be the healthiest thing for a mother, during and after the pregnancy. That means it is likely that you will be served a lot of seaweed soup in the hospital. If you don’t like seaweed soup, you can see if you can bring in your own food to eat or request special food. Hospital stays after birth are much longer in Korea than in other places like the United States, so you’ll want to be as comfortable as possible during your time there.
If you are an expat who doesn’t look Korean (especially blond and red hair, blue and green eyes), you might experience a lot of attention when in public. It’s not uncommon for random strangers to want to touch your baby and/or toddler. At times, they won’t ask for permission, especially the older they are. If you don’t know Korean and don’t feel comfortable, learn a few respectful phrases explaining just that.