Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Signs Your Doctor Will Perform an Unnecessary C-section

Updated 9 December 2017

Having a baby in Korea can be difficult due to culture and customs. Usually doctors are seen as all-knowing experts and patients don't dare to question them. C-sections are common (around 33%, which is similar to the USA. Choosing a good place to give birth is key to getting the birth you want. Having someone on your side helps a lot. Check out the list of breastfeeding counselors, childbirth educators, and doulas.

Here is a consumer report about birthing centers and hospitals and C-sections in Korea.  (It's in Korean. Try using Google Translate to translate it from Korean to Japanese and then Japanese to English. That provides the best results.) 1 is the top score and 5 is the lowest. Those that have fewer than 30 births per month aren't rated. If you want to avoid a C-section, look into places that are rated 1 or 2.

Morning Calm Birthing Services has a useful chart in English that allows you to easily compare hospitals and birthing centers. Tender Embrace Birthing also has a list of all the routine prenatal checks and tests that are done in Korea.

Frisco Women's Health put together a great article about Unnecessary C-sections or Unnecessarians. Click on the link to read the article or look at the summary below.
  1. Tells you the baby won't fit.
  2. Says you have a big baby. It's very rare that babies don't fit. They're very flexible and can mold to your body so that they get out. Your body won't make a baby it can't fit.
  3. Does lots of ultrasounds to see how big the baby is.
  4. Tells you to induce at 39 weeks because the baby is getting big.
  5. Tells you you can pass herpes to the baby.
  6. Tells you the baby is breech and you need a C-section because of it.
  7. Says that you've pushed for 2 hours and the baby's not coming out.
  8. Says inductions are more convenient.
  9. Schedules a C-section because you're having twins.
  10. Says your pelvis is too narrow.
  11. Says that your blood pressure is a little high and will cause pre-eclampsia or toxemia, which would cause a seizure and you need a C-section. 
More Resources

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

Monday, 1 July 2013

Schools and Educational Options in Korea

Updated 4 February 2015

Many people believe that they can only send their kids to Korean schools, international schools, or homeschooling. There are actually a lot of options available out there. There's also boarding school abroad, but I'm not going to talk about that option. I'm only going to talk about options available in Korea.

If you're looking to become a certified teacher, there are a number of online programs that allow you to do so. Some require you to do your student teaching there and others allow you to do it at international schools. Check out section 3 of International Schools.

Some schools, like those in ACSI (Association of Christian Schools International) have their own licensing system, which you could get and then teach at that school. You would also probably get free or heavily discounted tuition for your kids.

At bilingual and "international schools" you're going to be paying at least $10K, unless you work there and then you might get a discount. Some schools, such as Maple Bear (which only goes under age 7), will give your kid free tuition if you work there or a scholarship for foreign passport holders. It's often half what Koreans have to pay.

Some parents opt to do a combination of the ideas below. They may send their kids to Korean schools for some subjects and then supplement with material at home. Or they may get a scholarship at an international school, but send their kids to Korean summer camp.

The big 4 are: SFS (Seoul Foreign School), SIS (Seoul International School), KIS (Korea International School), YISS (Yongsan International School Seoul). Two of them: SFS and YISS are Christian. Fees are high, think about $20K a year. Again, you might be able to get a scholarship or a discount. It never hurts to ask. But it may be hard to get and you'll still have to pay a pretty good chunk. Many schools don't offer full scholarship for all your kids. They usually offer one and then reduced fees for the other kids
Pros: English curriculum. Comparable to education back home.
Cons: High cost. Paying for something that's free back home.
TBD: Rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous. Diplomat and expat kids who are very well-off.

Homeschoolers in Korea is a good place to start. From traditional homeschooling, to unschooling, to using Montessori techniques or Waldorf techniques there's a lot of options out there and you get to control what your kids learn. No more Train A and Train B stuff, but useful math like how to budget or do taxes :)
Pros: You control the curriculum. You can teach on your time. Tutors are usually more affordable here than back home.
Cons: Gets harder as the child gets older. Hard to do if you're working full-time. Can be hard to teach your own kids.

There are other schools as well, such as the German one, French one, Mongolian one, and the Chinese one. The Chinese one is very affordable at only about $300. Check out the lists below.


Pros: It allows your kids to earn the language and make friends. It's also one of the cheapest options. It allows your kids to be fully immersed in the culture.
Cons: If you don't speak Korean, good luck helping your kids with homework or communicating with the teachers. Korean schooling is debatable. They get high scores on tests, but the means might not justify the ends with large classes, physical punishment, long school days, hagwons, and studying until early in the morning. Here's an interesting post about kids going to Korean schools.

Religious schools are often more affordable. There's a new one called Zion International School in Ansan and it only requires you to pay about 50,000 a month. You do have to attend church though. You might also want to check out the Seventh Day Adventist elementary school in Daejon. It was a private Korean school but a lot of the instruction was in English by native English speaking teachers.
Pros: Fees are often cheaper and the classes are smaller. Teachers are usually there because they have a calling to teach at a religious school.
Cons: Not "real world" since everyone is in a bit of a bubble. Some parents put their kids there because the reduced fees and small class sizes, but disagree with the school's ideas.
TBD: If you're religious and can find a school that has similar ideas as yours then you're golden, if not you might run into roadblocks along the way.

Handong Global College has an attached K-12 school and the professors' kids receive scholarships.

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