For those who want a birth experience without medical intervention, birth houses (Josanin) run by midwives are an ideal option, and fortunately there are some who are able to accomodate English speakers.
The philosophy at birth houses is to encourage women to give birth in any position they want, and they do not offer epidurals, they do not use drugs to induce labor, they generally do not do episiotomies or stitch tears (if required they will refer you to a hospital they have a relationship with), and likewise, if there is an emergency, you will be sent to hospital. After the birth they normally practice 24 hour rooming in with the baby and give support to establish breast feeding. They will not accept high risk pregnancies and you will need to visit a doctor for blood tests and scans several times during the pregnancy. There are thousands of birth houses throughout Japan so if you have used one and had a good (or bad) experience, please let us know, particularly if you think the birth house would be suitable for those with limited Japanese ability.
Head Midwife: Setsuko Yamada4-16-21 Sakuragaoka, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo 156-0054.
In addition to normal birthing clinic practice, Aqua Birth House can also offer water birthing. They have a relationship with the Red Cross Medical Center (Nisseki) in Hiroo should medical assistance be required.
Head Midwife: Shoko So10-13 Matsugaoka 1-chome, Nakano-ku, Tokyo 165-0024
Matsugaoka also have facilities for a water birth and they also run a variety of classes including Maternity Aromatherapy, Food Therapy, Maternity Yoga, Enjoy Birth, Water Birth Workshop, Expectant Parents, Breast Care & Massage, and Baby Massage. Classes are open to women giving birth in other places too. There are also tours of the center where you can ask questions to ensure it is right for you, and a weekly social gathering of mothers and babies and expectant mothers. In regards to the birth itself, fathers and other children are encouraged to attend the birth, and fathers have 24 hour visiting access. In the case of emergencies, they have a relationship with Japan Red Cross Medical Center (Nisseki) where you and/or your baby will be transported.
Head Midwife: Yuko HoshinoZoshigaya 2-24-11, Toshima-ku, Tokyo.
Mejiro Birth House encourages active birthing and will work with you during your pregnancy to create a birth plan that respects your wants and needs. They understand that giving birth in a foreign country can be challenging and they hope to make the experience a comfortable and pleasant one for you. They also have water birth facilities and if you wish to have a home birth, they can accommodate that too including a home water birth!