Tuesday, 9 August 2016

New Birthing Center in Seoul, Korea

http://www.gmcheil.co.kr/en.htmlNatural birthing has changed a lot in Korea in the past five years. Nowadays you will find natural birthing clinics (that usually have a C-section rate of 10% and below), women's clinics, and even major hospitals that offer things such as birthing tubs, rooming-in, and freedom of movement. Many places have doctors, midwives, nurses, and staff who speak English. Here's a list of some popular places to give birth in Korea. Doctors are starting to recognise the importance of doulas and allowing women to make choices about their birth.

In the spring of this year, another natural birthing center opened up in Gwangmyeong, which is in the western area of Seoul. GM Cheil Women's Clinic located right outside exit 3 of Gwangmyeong Sageori station at 896 Gwangmyeong-ro, Gwangmyeong, in Gyeonggi-do (phone is (02) 890-2555 and the fax is (02) 890-2554) have three floors dedicated to helping women get the birth they want, whether that be a hands-off birth or a C-section. They are very accommodating to women who want to use doulas.

While the doctors are not fluent in English, they have studied abroad and are able to understand. Julia, a midwife who used to work at Yeon and Nature, speaks English and has experience working with foreigners. They also have an IBCLC who can help with breastfeeding. Unfortunately, they do not attend home births now, but hopefully they will in the future. Here's a list of English speaking doctors and midwives who will do home births.

In June I got the chance to visit GM Cheil and was given a tour by Julia. When I walked in on the 7th floor I was struck by how peaceful it was. The area is bright and open. The check-in area, doctors' offices, and the IBCLC's office are all here.

The 8th floor is where the delivery rooms are located. GM Cheil only has private rooms and are equipped with birthing tubs, toilets, birthing balls, a birthing stool, a queen sized bed, a table and chair, a bassinet, necessary toiletries and for mom and baby. They also have peanut balls that are available upon request. All rooms have floor to ceiling windows with thick drapes, the ability to dim the lights, and control the temperature. While they don't have a NICU, they do have one incubator available so if there are minor issues you don't have to worry about being transferred to a hospital. The education center, where yoga and birthing classes take place, is also located on this floor.

After delivery, many women choose to move to the 9th floor for recovery. Rooms on this floor are also private and each room has two twin beds: one for the mom and one for her partner. These rooms are also equipped with toilets and showers, a small table and padded stool, a foot stool for breastfeeding, a breastfeeding pillow, and necessary toiletries for mom and baby. They provide a small gift bag for moms afterwards which consists of a baby outfit and a placenta print. There is also a small shampoo room here. GM Cheil is always thinking about how important the little things are, such as having a place to wash your hair after giving birth. They have a small room with a salon chair. After giving birth it allows the mom a chance to feel pampered as her partner washes her hair.

I took photos but they don't do justice to how amazing GM Cheil. You can check out their website or visit and ask for a tour. Prices vary according to what type of insurance you have, but you can expect to pay about what you would pay at Mamas' Birth Center or half of what Medi Flower and Yeon and Nature charge.

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

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