Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Common Tests and Interventions Done Prenatally, During Labor and Birth, and Postpartum in Korea

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While your caregiver will offer all these tests and interventions, it's up to you to accept them. They don't typically ask you if you want them However, you can ALWAYS have a choice and can opt out and say no. Even if you say no, your doctor is not likely to "fire" you or refuse you care. More often than not, they'll just think you're weird.

You might also be interested in reading the following:

Tests and Interventions Done Prenatally in General
  • Ultrasounds, weight, and blood pressure are done at every doctor's visit.
  • Being told not to gain too much weight or even go on a diet if you're overweight.  
  • No medicine offered to help with morning sickness.   
  • Flu shot.
First Trimester
  • Monthly visits until about 28 weeks.
  • Blood and urine tests during the first visit to test for things such as protein in your urine, thyroid function, liver function, Hep B, titers for immunities to childhood disease, blood type, and HCG level. 
  • Pap smear during the first visit to test for abnormalities and STDs.
  • Chorionic villus sampling (CVS) done between 10-13 weeks if you're over 35 or high risk.
  • 4D ultrasound done around 12 weeks as part of the Nuchal Translucency (NT) test.
  • First trimester screening around 12 weeks which involves the NT test and blood test to test for chromosomal abnormalities.
Second Trimester
  • Monthly visits until about 28 weeks.
  • Amniocentesis done between 15-20 weeks if you're over 35 or high risk.
  • Triple or Quad test done between 15-20 weeks to test for chromosomal abnormalities.  
  • Flu shot during winter.
  • Gestational diabetes (GDM) test done between 24-28 weeks. 
Third Trimester
  • Visits every two weeks between about 28-36 weeks.
  • Weekly visits from 36 weeks until you give birth.
  • Rhogam shot given around 28 weeks to Rh- moms.
  • Blood test to check for anemia and cholesterol levels done between 28-32 weeks.
  • Internal ultrasound / exam to check cervical length done between 28-32 weeks.  
  • Urine tests done between 28-36 weeks to check for protein in your urine.  
  • DTaP shot after 32 weeks.
  • Non-Stress Test done around 36 weeks.
  • Group B Strep (GBS) test done around 36 weeks.
  • X-Ray done around 36 weeks to rule out tuberculous. Not as commonly done as before.
  • EKG done around 36 weeks to check for abnormalities that might interfere with medicine given during birth.  
  • Induction at 41w3d.
Tests and Interventions Done During Labor and Birth
  • Induction done after 12 hours of water breaking if 36+ weeks.
  • Vaginal exam upon admittance and then every hour.
  • Monitoring blood pressure and temperature.
  • Fetal monitoring for 15-20 minutes every hour using a belt strapped across the mom's belly.
  • Enemas.
  • Shaving of pubic hair.
  • IVs for fluids, antibiotics, and/or glucose. 
  • No food or drink during labor.
  • Birthing on your back.
  • Episiotomies (an incision made from the vaginal wall). 
  • Pitocin.
  • Coached pushing aka purple pushing.
  • Immediate clamping of the umbilical cord.
  • Pitocin and massage to birth the placenta.
  • "Emergency" C-sections. The rate for Korea is about 33%, which is the same as the USA.  
  • Rhogam shot given up to 72 hours after given birth if the mom is Rh negative.

Tests and Interventions Done Postpartum
  • Suctioning the baby's airway after birth.
  • Washing the baby with soap and water.
  • Taking the baby away immediately to be weighed and measured.
  • Taking the baby to the nursery.
  • NICU: Seeing your baby twice a day for 20 minutes. Info about NICUs in Korea
  • Feeding the baby formula and/or sugar water.
  • Erythromycin Eye Ointment.
  • Vitamin K shot. 
  • Hepatitis B shot.
  • PKU test done between 3-4 days old.
  • Bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG) shot for TB given around 2 weeks.
  • Staying 3 days (if a vaginal birth) - 5 days (if a C-section).
  • Check-up at 6 weeks for the mom.
Tender Embrace Birthing offers childbirth, breastfeeding, and newborn care classes and support.

Sunday, 1 October 2017

I'd Love to Have You Join My Patreon Page

I finally got around to starting a Patreon page. I'd love to have you join! Patreon allows you to support creators like me on a monthly basis. You can see my other blogs at my author profile.

Tender Embrace Birthing offers childbirth, breastfeeding, and newborn care classes and support.

Friday, 1 September 2017

Car Seat Laws for Kids in Korea

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Last Updated 25 September 2017

Legally speaking, in Korea a child must be in an car seat or a booster seat until they're six years old (Western age). The fine is 60,000 if you're caught and you're child doesn't have one. It's very unlikely that you will be pulled over and fined. I've seen infants on the driver's lap, kids bouncing around, and even kids popping up through sunroofs.

However, this is literally a matter of life or death! I cannot stress this enough. I know some people get complacent after living in Korea for a while. But, don't even think about not using car seats! You must put your child in a car seat and you must buy a new one.  

Please don't buy a used one. If it's been in any crash or slightly damaged in any way, it could be compromised. It's not worth saving money when your child's life is on the line. Since it's a big ticket item, consider putting it on your baby registry. Or cross something else off your list and get a car seat.

Installing a car seat
Remember to keep your child rear-facing as long as possible. It doesn't matter if they're a year old, you don't have to turn them around: keep them facing backwards.

It's not easy to install a car seat. You can check online for more info. Unlike some countries, fire departments and police stations cannot check your car seat to make sure it's properly installed. In addition, hospitals and birthing centers aren't going to check if you have a car seat installed before you take your baby home. You could go home in a taxi with them in the front seat and they're not going to stop you. Here are some good sites.
Also, never ever put your child in a car seat while they're wearing coats. This video shows what happens when you put your baby in their car seat while wearing a coat. The car seat lady and this crash test will explain more and why it can be deadly.

Tender Embrace Birthing offers childbirth, breastfeeding, and newborn care classes and support.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Sharing Breastmilk in Korea: Donating and Receiving

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I know that moms share breastmilk both formally and informally. As a La Leche League Leader, I can only recommend the former, however, LLL allows me to  give "information and support, including information about the benefits and risks of such practices as induced lactation, relactation, wet-nursing, or cross-nursing."

The World Health Organization says that if a baby cannot be breastfed by his or her mother, then expressed breastmilk from the baby's mother, breastmilk from a healthy wet-nurse or a human-milk bank, or a breastmilk substitute should be given in that order.

Ultimately, I can provide information. It is up to you to make the decision along with your health care provider. 

Milk Banks
There are only two milk banks in Korea. If you want to donate, they will require a test for STDs plus a hepatitis B vaccination. You will have to pay for both of these. I'm not sure how hard it is for non-Korean speaking foreigners to donate milk. I imagine it's like donating blood. In theory, it's possible; in practice, very difficult.
Donating milk to milk banks was in the Korean news. You can see the story here.
  • KyungHee University Hospital at Kangdong in Seoul. The phone number is 02-440-7731.
  • Iksan Jeil Hospital. The phone number is 063-840-7629, 2300
How much milk do you need?
There's an article by KellyMom which explains that babies aged 1-6 months need about 19-30 oz (570-900 ml) of breastmilk per day. Some women get milk from one other women, while others get milk from many different women. Some also supplement with formula. I do not know how much Korean milk banks charge for milk. I know in the USA, it's about $4 an ounce.

Pasteurizing the milk
In milk banks, the milk goes through a pasteurization process. That's not the case if you connect directly with another mom. You need to be able to trust the mom you get the milk from.

Some families decide to pasteurize any and all donor milk they use. Sometimes the baby doesn't like the taste of donated breastmilk. Scalding the breastmilk can help. Eats on Feets also has information on two different ways to pasteurize milk. Milkshare has good info on how to screen mothers that you're getting milk from.

Milk sharing resources, risks, and benefits
I highly encourage you to read these articles as well as do your own research before making a decision. Only you can decide what is right for you and your child.

Where to Find Breastmilk Sharing Communities in Korea
Please check the milk sharing resources mentioned above. MMKorea Nursing Support has information on how to send breastmilk. Most families will pay for the breastmilk storage bags as well as shipping costs.
Human Milk 4 Human Babies (HM4HB) - South Korea 
You can message this group and they will post on your behalf whether it be an offer or a request. It's not that active, but when people post, they usually get responses.

MMKorea Nursing Support 
This is not a milk sharing group, but a peer-to-peer breastfeeding support group. With that being said, it's Korea-wide and women are usually able to help.

Local parenting or mom groups. Someone often knows someone. Some women have been known to pump specifically for another baby.

Check military groups. Often moms who PCS have to get rid of loads of milk. If you know someone who's military, ask them if they can post on your behalf.

Other Breastmilk Sharing Options: Currently Not Available in Korea
There are currently no chapters in Korea, but may be in the future.

They have an email list they send out. It's geared towards women in the USA. However, maybe someone in Korea could set up something similar.
Tender Embrace Birthing offers childbirth, breastfeeding, and newborn care classes and support.

Saturday, 8 July 2017

The Big Latch On Korea 2017

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August is Breastfeeding Awareness Month and all over the world people will be participating in events to celebrate. If you'd like to show your support for Breastfeeding Awareness, look at the items below:
There are also a few events going on that you can participate in:
The latter two you can do on your own, but the Global Big Latch On takes place with other people.

What is The Global Big Latch On?
Their website states that "Global Big Latch On events take place at registered locations around the world, where women gather together to breastfeed and offer peer support to each other. Their friends, family and community join this celebration to promote and support breastfeeding. Volunteers from within the community host each location, hosting a Global Big Latch On event creates a lasting support network for the community."

 It started in New Zealand in 2005. There are many reasons behind this event, according to their site.
"Global Big Latch On events aim to protect, promote & support breastfeeding families by:
  • Provide support for communities to identify and grow opportunities to provide on-going breastfeeding support and promotion in local communities.
  • Raise awareness of breastfeeding support and knowledge available locally and globally. 
  • Help communities positively support breastfeeding in public places. 
  • Make breastfeeding as normal part of day-to-day life at a local community level.
  • Increase support for women who breastfeed – women are supported by their partners, family and their communities.
  • Ensure communities have the resources to advocate for coordinated appropriate and accessible breastfeeding support services."
Who Can Participate?
Breastfeeding moms, their partners, and their supporters are welcome to join. They will count three different things: the number of latches, the number of breastfeeding women, and the total number of people. They recognise that breastfeeding journets are different. As such, in order to be counted as a latch, you can have
  • A direct latch
  • A supplemental nursing system or nipple shield
  • Express milk using your hands or pump
  • Feed your child breastmilk using an alternative method
In Korea there will be 2 events, one in Yongsan, Seoul and one in Songtan, Pyeongtaek. Be sure to check out Big Latch On Korea on Facebook as well.

Want to Donate or Help Out?
If you're a small or local business, consider donating a prize for the raffle. If you'd like to donate money, please do so on The Big Latch On website. If you'd like to donate your time, please contact Sheila (Seoul) or Sharon (Pyeongtaek) to find out how you can help out.

Yongsan, Seoul: Friday, August 4th from 10-11:30am
The location is TBA. You can register on the Facebook page or on the Big Latch On website. The location code for this event is 1324. Victor will be there to take photos. There will be a raffle and the following businesses will be providing prizes.

Songtan, Pyeongtaek: Saturday, August 5th from 10-11am
The event will be held at Cornerstone, which is a coffee shop near Posco. You can find a map on the Facebook event. Since they are letting us use the location they have asked that people buy one drink. You can register on the Facebook page or on the Big Latch On website. The location code for this event is 1326.
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