Whether you decide to give birth in a hospital, birthing clinic, or at home, you may wish to take some prenatal classes and/or use a doula or other form of labour support to help you before or during the birth. Fortunately there are some excellent English-speaking maternity support services available.
CEC classes have gone national this year. Brett offers private Skype consultations for Choosing a Caregiver, and runs classes which include Birthing Your Baby, Birth Refresher Class, Baby Basics for New Parents, and Having a Cesarean. Brett is certified by the International Childbirth Education Association (ICEA) and, since establishing CEC in 1997, more than 1600 couples throughout Japan have utilized her services. In addition to being bilingual and having a deep and up-to-date understanding of maternity services in Japan, she has also lived here for more than eighteen years and has had first-hand experience with the births of both of her children in Japan.
Ann Tanaka, RN
Birth Education Services in Tokyo (BEST)
Ann also runs course on pregnancy, birth planning and preparation for couples at the Tokyo America Club, and non-members may also attend.
In Tokyo since 2003, Your Birth was the first full-time Doula service for English-speaking foreigners in Tokyo. Selena now resides in Richmond, Virginia but has a new service to continue supporting her original clientele: Women pregnant and birthing abroad. She calles it Distance Doula. A Distance Doula provides the same emotional support, decision-making strategies, and planning resources, with the constancy of a continuous relationship, the hallmark of doula care, throughout your childbearing year...all from a distance: via phone, skype and e-mail. All consultations are free.
Birth Without Borders!
Karen Mattison is a Clinical Hypnotherapist and Childbirth Hypnosis Instructor. Her particular interests are in pain management (childbirth, post-surgical, chronic) and overcoming medical anxiety. She speaks Japanese and is a member of the International Mental Health Professionals of Japan (IMHPJ). She is able to conduct sessions over the phone, but she does recommend having at least one face-to-face session initially to experience the process and to establish rapport.
Allision runs courses on Hypnobirthing to teach you how to use self-hypnosis to achieve deep relaxation during labor. She offers small group and private courses in both Tokyo and Yokota Air Base and the courses consist of four 3 hour sessions or two full day sessions.
Local Wards also run childbirth and parenting classes through their public health divisions. While the classes would normally be in Japanese, check on their website or go in person to find out whether they also run bilingual classes, or if they can accommodate a non-Japanese speaker by providing a volunteer interpreter.
Prenatal Classes @ Shibuya Public Health Center (3rd floor)
Tel: 03-3463-1146 (English Interpreter)
Every 1st, 2nd and 3rd Wednesday of the month with the exception of January and August, from 1:30 – 3:50pm, there are classes on pregnancy, childbirth and infant care for residents of Shibuya ward. While the classes are normally conducted in Japanese, in the months of February, April, July and November, classes are given with a volunteer English Interpreter. You will need to bring your Boshi Techo (Mother and Child Health Handbook), something to take notes, and comfortable clothing.