I think a lot of people were surprised that I decided to have a baby in Shanghai, China, but honestly, I wouldn’t change the experience for anything. Here are some of the reasons why being pregnant and having a baby was a special experience for me.
1. World class health care
I saw Dr. Dong (Chief of the OB/GYN department) at American-Sino Hospital for my pre-natal appointments and she was also there for the delivery of my baby. Her care, demeanor and knowledge were all excellent and I can’t image finding a better doctor than her, even back at home.
2. Interesting advice Chinese give foreigners
–Don’t exercise or ride your bike
–Don’t drink tea or coffee
–If you are having a boy, your stomach won’t look as big and stick out very far like with a girl
–If you have a girl, you will look more beautiful & less beautiful if you are having a boy
After Baby is Born
–Don’t take the baby outside when the sun is out unless he is fully covered
–Babies must be bundled in thick layers of clothes in the winter otherwise they will be too cold
3. Pregnant people are highly revered in China
China is the kind of place, where on the streets, it’s a kind of everyone out for themselves type of environment, but things do change when you are pregnant. People become much more accommodating and are very interested in asking a lot of questions about the pregnancy.
4. Cheap massages
Being able to afford to have a massage every week while you are pregnant was one of my favorite parts of living in Shanghai during the pregnancy. At the time, I was visiting a masseuse in Jing’an neighborhood and paying about $26 for a 90 minute massage.
5. Cheap nannies (+ cleaning & cooking)
While living in Shanghai, we paid under $5/hour to have a very nice middle aged Chinese woman come to the house to clean & cook. If needed, she even stopped at the market to pick up groceries and fresh meats and vegetables! After having the baby, she was happy to stay with him. I think she really enjoyed walking him around the neighborhood to meet all of her friends.
6. The love of kids and babies
This made it really fun to take the baby around the neighborhood, because the Chinese would always admire him and say nice things about him.
7. Learning Mandarin
I wasn’t in China long enough to fully take advantage of this, but the idea of having your baby grow up hearing Mandarin is really exciting. Our nanny in Shanghai only spoke Mandarin, so my son was hearing it from the day he was born. I think this is such a great opportunity as it is well known that being exposed to a foreign language at a young age, makes it much easier to learn in the future.
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