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What to do when you are pregnant in Japan?


During pregnancy, it’s important to take care of both yourself and your baby. When you are pregnant in Japan, there are specific things you need to know and do to ensure a healthy pregnancy and delivery. In this article, we will go over what to expect when you are pregnant in Japan and what steps you can take to have a safe and comfortable pregnancy.

Finding Prenatal Care

One of the first things you should do when you find out you are pregnant in Japan is to find a healthcare provider. You can choose between private clinics or hospitals that offer prenatal care. It’s important to find a doctor or midwife that speaks your language if you don’t speak Japanese. You’ll visit your doctor every month for checkups during the first eight months of your pregnancy, then every two weeks until the last month.

Japanese Snack Box

Pregnancy Leave

In Japan, women are entitled to maternity leave from six weeks before their due date until eight weeks after giving birth. However, some companies offer more extended leave. Talk to your employer about your options for maternity leave.

Maternity Clothing

Maternity clothing is widely available in Japan, but it can be more expensive than regular clothing. If you’re on a budget, look for secondhand stores that specialize in maternity clothes. You can also wear loose-fitting clothes during pregnancy if you don’t want to buy new clothes.

Food and Drink

During pregnancy, it’s essential to eat a healthy diet and avoid certain foods and drinks that can be harmful to your baby. In Japan, raw fish and meat are popular dishes but should be avoided during pregnancy. You should also limit your caffeine intake and avoid alcohol entirely.

Childbirth Classes

Childbirth classes can help prepare you for labor and delivery in Japan. Many hospitals offer classes in English, so ask your healthcare provider about childbirth classes in your area.

Birth Plan

Creating a birth plan can help you communicate your preferences with your healthcare provider during labor and delivery. You can discuss pain management options, who will be present at the birth, and any cultural or religious practices that you want to incorporate into your delivery.

Delivery in Japan

In Japan, most babies are delivered via vaginal birth. However, if there are complications during delivery, a cesarean section may be necessary. Japanese hospitals typically have private rooms for patients, but they may not allow family members or friends to stay overnight.

Postpartum Care

After giving birth in Japan, new mothers may stay at the hospital for a few days to recover before going home. During this time, nurses will help with breastfeeding and postpartum care. Once at home, new mothers can receive support from postpartum doulas or lactation consultants.

Baby Supplies

Baby supplies such as diapers and formula are widely available in Japan. However, some parents opt for cloth diapers or breastfeeding exclusively. It’s important to research different options and find what works best for you and your baby.

Cultural Practices

Japan has unique cultural practices surrounding pregnancy and childbirth. For example, some people believe that eating seaweed during pregnancy can help with milk production after birth. It’s important to respect these cultural practices while also making informed decisions about your own health and well-being.


Pregnancy in Japan can be an exciting but challenging time for expecting mothers. By finding prenatal care providers who speak your language, attending childbirth classes, creating a birth plan, and taking care of yourself through a healthy diet and restful sleep, you can have a safe and comfortable pregnancy experience in Japan.

Is it safe to go to Japan while pregnant?

For couples who don’t want to spend their babymoon lounging on the beach, Japan offers a perfect mix of stunning attractions, rich culture, and delicious cuisine. Additionally, traveling to Japan with a young child might be difficult, so pregnancy presents an ideal opportunity to experience this bucket list destination.

What happens if I have my baby in Japan?

If a non-Japanese person gives birth in Japan but is not married to a Japanese citizen, their child will not automatically become a Japanese citizen. However, if the child’s foreign mother reports the birth to their country’s government office in Japan, the child may be eligible for the mother’s citizenship.

Is epidural allowed in Japan?

Epidurals are not used in primary and secondary level maternity hospitals and clinics in Japan. Instead, Japanese women use other methods such as breathing, movement, and massage/acupressure to manage childbirth pain. Many Japanese women believe that this strengthens the bond between mother and child.

Is it free to give birth in Japan?

The delivery cost allowance, which may differ based on the insurance provider, is typically around 400,000 yen. You can opt to receive the allowance as a reimbursement or have it directly paid to the hospital or clinic where you plan to give birth.

Is my child a citizen if I give birth in Japan?

The Japanese Nationality Act states that a child can become a Japanese national if their parent(s) are Japanese nationals at the time of their birth. There are three specific cases in which this can occur.

Are mother and baby kept together after birth in Japan?

In Japan, it is common for women to remain at their mother’s home for up to eight weeks following the birth of a baby. This allows them to rest, recover, and receive guidance on caring for their newborn.

Support Networks

Having a support network during pregnancy and after giving birth is essential, especially if you are far away from your family and friends. In Japan, there are various support groups for expectant mothers and new parents. These groups can provide emotional support, advice, and a sense of community. You can also join online forums and groups to connect with other parents.

Health Insurance

In Japan, health insurance is mandatory, and it covers most of the costs associated with pregnancy and childbirth. If you have a valid residence card or visa, you are eligible for health insurance. However, it’s important to check with your healthcare provider to see what specific costs are covered by your insurance plan.

Breastfeeding in Public

Breastfeeding in public is legal and accepted in Japan. However, some women may feel more comfortable using nursing covers or finding private areas to breastfeed. Many shopping malls and public places have designated nursing rooms where mothers can breastfeed or pump milk in privacy.

Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression affects many women after giving birth. It’s essential to recognize the signs and symptoms of postpartum depression and seek help if necessary. In Japan, there are support groups and counseling services available for women who are struggling with postpartum depression.

Final Thoughts

Pregnancy and childbirth are significant milestones in a woman’s life, regardless of where they take place. By knowing what to expect when you are pregnant in Japan, you can prepare yourself for a safe and healthy pregnancy experience. Remember to take care of yourself, seek support when needed, and enjoy this special time in your life.

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