Hey mom-to-be! Looking forward to the new addition to your family? To make this transition as smooth as possible, some preparation is vital. Let’s talk about all those things you were dying to know (and sometimes were afraid to ask) about having a baby in Ho Chi Minh. Hospitals, exercise, buying baby stuff…the works!
Preparing: Medical Care and Prenatal Classes
That pregnancy test was an easy one, you can get them at every drugstore in Saigon. But then what?
When you’re having a baby in Ho Chi Minh, your first medical check-up is generally planned when you’re around 6-8 weeks pregnant. There are several great gynecologists in Ho Chi Minh City, most medical clinics can help you find the right one. Note that your gynecologist will guide you through this whole bump to baby journey; he or she will do all your check-ups as well as the delivery. You should get monthly or bi-monthly check-ups, often with an ultra sound. Make sure to mention if you don’t want to know the sex of the baby, otherwise they will be hanging the pink or blue banners before you know it.
Prenatal classes in Saigon
It’s improving, but the number of prenatal classes being offered in Saigon could use still use a push so to say. We love the Simba group, set up by the Family Medical Practice. They offer prenatal information and baby classes when your star has been born. Mandala organizes monthly meet-ups for expecting moms as well as frequent birth workshops. Great info and even better, you get to meet other preggies and new mommies. Another option to stay fit while being pregnant is the aquabiking class in district 2. Last but not least, visit Jiva Yoga Studio when you’re having a baby in Ho Chi Minh, but want to keep exercising. Jiva has irregular yoga classes for pregnant women, best to check with them in advance. Can’t get too zen at this point, trust us!
Where to have your baby: the best hospitals in Ho Chi Minh City
There’s no shortage of medical practices in Ho Chi Minh City, but when you’re having a baby, you should feel comfortable and confident about where you’re giving birth. So make sure you and you’re partner check out the options. FV Hospital comes recommended, for the great reputation of the doctors and the good service. Hanh Phuc Hospital is also a good one. This hospital specializes in women and children care. It provides good service and better rates than some other hospitals. The doctors are Vietnamese as well as international. Keep in mind that not all mid-wives might speak adequate English.
When you’re meeting with the hospital, it’s good to mention to the hospital if your insurance will cover the expenses or not. Some hospitals offer reduced rates if you’re not covered.
Buying Baby items in Ho Chi Minh City
It’s a good thing you have about 9 months, because man, these little people need a ton of stuff. Or is it just that all that baby gear is too cute to be true and we can’t help ourselves? Luckily, UK based Mothercare has a wide range of baby equipment and can be found at several localions in HCMC (Crescent Mall in D7, Estella Place in D2, Takashimaya, D1). Con Cung is also a good place to satisfy your nesting instinct. More baby gear can be found above An Phu supermarket at Happy Kids Saigon, a small store with surprisingly many baby items. Also check out the Facebook groups in Saigon, some are specialized in babies and kids. You can buy the best pre-loved items there and ask for all the baby stuff you can’t find elsewhere. Looking for swim diapers or re-usable diapers? Check the website Alvababy, they ship to Vietnam as well.
Book it now: the babymoon
Yep, we are adding a new word to your vocabulary; babymoon! Because travelling will probably not be on your agenda for a while after your little bundle of joy has arrived. Perhaps you won’t feel like it anyway, but all the paperwork you need to arrange first to take little bubba anywhere will take a while. So this is your moment. Go for these great destinations nearby where you and your partner can sleep in and relax to the max. Or hop on the plane to Singapore or Hong Kong where you can combine chilling with some final shopping, for example for those pregnancy clothes that are such a hard find here.
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After 9 months of preparing yourself on having a baby in Ho Chi Minh, it’s time. The baby room is shining, you stocked up on baby clothes, bottles and diapers, and you’re more than ready to kiss those pregnancy clothes goodbye. But what to expect when arriving in the hospital? What to bring and what to do after your delivery? Here you go, this is all you need to know about giving birth in Ho Chi Minh City.
Last things to prepare before giving birth in Ho Chi Minh City
If you would like to prepare mentally and physically for your child birth, check out the Best Birth Workshop at Mandala. You can also contact Ms Sang, from Medical Clinic CMI, who offers childbirth education classes. And good news, she comes to your house! If you prefer personal support before, during and after childbirth, consider hiring a doula. Rachel Doula Saigon is trained as a doula. She can advise and help you when giving birth in Ho Chi Minh City.
Next to all the medical check ups and prenatal classes, it’s vital to check if all your documents for the birth certificate are ready. If you or your partner don’t have a Vietnamese passport, you need to make sure your official documents are translated and legalized. This will allow you to apply for a birth certificate right away. The process itself differs per nationality, so make sure you do your research well in advance. There are agents who can help you with this, best to ask around for reliable contacts.
It’s time: going to the hospital
And then it’s time to go to the hospital, the moment you’ve been longing for and dreading at the same time! Note that in most hospitals in Vietnam, it’s normal to stay at least 3 days in the hospital after giving birth. Good to check if the baby will sleep in the baby wing or with you, this varies per hospital.
Chances are you’ve visited the hospital in advance and your doctor is there to meet you. There’s no shortage of medical practices in Ho Chi Minh City. But when you’re having a baby, you should feel comfortable and confident about where you’re giving birth. You can find more information on which hospital to go to here. Make sure to mention to the hospital if your insurance will cover the expenses or not. Some hospitals offer reduced rates if you’re not covered.
Make a birth plan when giving birth in Ho Chi Minh City
If you would like to have any influence on the birth process, it’s wise to make a birth plan as this can guide the hospital staff during your delivery. Point out who you’d like to have in the room with you during labor. Or describe how you feel about pain relief medication. Also good to include whether you would like the baby to stay with you for a while after the birth. And if you would like to be there when your baby receives vaccinations. You can make it as detailed as you like. After drawing up your birth plan, make sure to discuss it with your doctor and have him or her sign it. And don’t forget – bring it with you when it’s d(elivery)-day!
What to do after giving birth in Ho Chi Minh City
Hoorray! Your bundle of joy has arrived! Your first days will find an interesting new rhythm involving sleep, feeding and baby poo and you’ll probably love every bit of it.
After the delivery you might have several questions, we know we had! There are several workshops and classes available in Saigon for moms who have just given birth in Ho Chi Minh City: Yoga Joy Saigon organizes a pregnancy and (post) birth group in district 7. Mandala Wellness offers New Mom Meet Ups in district 2. Besides the opportunity to ask all those questions you have but are almost afraid to, it’s a great way to meet other new moms. Simba is a service offered by Family Medical Practice. Each week they discuss a different topic. It’s also a chance to weigh your new-born and exchange experiences.
Breastfeeding might not be rocket science, but sometimes it’s not easy either. Nellie Pilisi from Saigon Slings is a breastfeeding educator and doula in Saigon. She can help you with breastfeeding techniques, how to carry your baby around and more handy advice.
Vaccinations, travelling and playgroups
Besides all of the above, there are a few other things to keep in mind. First of all, decide on which vaccination program to follow. Your baby will receive its first vaccination within the first week of its life, so it’s good to keep track. You can document it in the baby vaccination records.
Also, it’s good to note that travelling abroad is off limits for a while. Arranging the birth certificate can take some time in Vietnam. But luckily, you can still travel within Vietnam though.
When you’re ready to go out, check out the playgroups in your neighborhood. It’s a great way to meet other moms and their offspring. In district 2, there’s a baby playgroup in BaMa Kids cafe.
Finally, if you need to stock up on baby equipment, we have made a list for you where to go. You can find it in the last section of our article Bun in the oven? Being pregnant in Ho Chi Minh.
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95 Thao Dien St., D2
Age: 0 – 1 years, pregnant women
Saigon International Mothers and Babies Association (SIMBA) is a service of Family Medical Practice, run by resident pediatrician Dr. Agnes Viay and held to discuss a wide range of baby health care issues. Each week a different topic will be discussed like sleeping, feeding, breastfeeding etc. It’s also a chance to weigh your new-born and exchange experiences. If you’re new in town it’s a great way to meet fellow momma’s.
Time: Thursday from 9.30am – 11.30am
Costs: VND 100,000 per session per child of which 100% is donated to the SIMBA charity organization.
41 Tran Ngoc Dien, D2
Mandala Wellness offers such a wide range when it comes to this topic. Yoga, mindfulness and meditation, but also complimentary medicine like energy healing, acupuncture and reiki. For expecting moms there is the monthly Mom Meet Up, as well as frequent birth workshops and maternity classes like yoga for expecting mothers. A great way to prepare yourself for your baby’s arrival.
4th floor, 41 Duong 41, D2
Age: 6 months – 5 years
When you have young kids, it can be hard to find the right place to connect with other parents. At the BaMa Café this issue is solved! You can meet other parents, have a coffee and relax, all while your child is having fun playing with other little ones. The best part is that your precious yet untamed toddler is always in sight so you get to enjoy some real down time by chilling on one of the lounge cushions. A win-win if we do say so!
32 Tran Ngoc Dien, D2
UK clothing company Albetta has a few shops in Vietnam, lucky us! The one inside the Snap Café premises is a wonderful little shop with adorable clothes and accessories for little ones – from newborn up to 6 years. They have cute decoration items for children’s rooms, but also lunchboxes, bunting flags made of fabric and a small selection of toys. We never seem to be able to leave this shop without buying something.
108 Xuan Thuy, D2
Copenhagen Delights not only sells nice clothing for children from 3 months up to 12 years and a small selection for adults, they also have lovely decoration items such as cushions, lamps, tipi’s and quilts. The rice tableware is one of our favorites and never gets old. You will also find fun postcards here.
38 Tran Nao, D2
Are you pregnant and is your nesting instinct kicking in big time? No worries, we know just the place for all you baby items. Baby cots, newborn clothes, formula, feeding bottles, toys, towels, strollers and any other baby items you might need when your precious mini-me enters this wonderful world. They probably don’t have all the fancy brands you know from back home, but Con Cung has enough stuff to get prepared.
1st floor, 36 Thao Dien, D2
Happy Kids Saigon is a small children’s store, yet they have surprisingly many useful baby and kids items. Philips Avent feeding bottles, strollers, bikes, baby chairs, Disney stuffed animals and baby clothing are just a few examples. It’s located on the first floor of the An Phu Supermarket so it’s easy to be overlooked. But if you’re in need of baby stuff, be sure to visit it.