Motherhood Around The World: Health Care
This post is the first addition to MY Mothering Around The World Series, you can read more about it here and my feature on US based blog, A Cup Of Jo, here. I hope this opens a window for you of what our life is like in Manila. I put emphasis on our life because I know everyone has different lived experiences.
One of the questions I get most often about our life overseas is how our healthcare is and what it is like having babies in the Philippines. I have LOVED having my babies in Manila and for the most part been very happy with our health care.
All my pregnancies have taken place in the Philippines, which pretty much means endless summer for a pregnant woman. I delivered my eldest in Seattle 6 weeks after returning to The States. When we moved back to Manila less than two years later I was pregnant again. I was able to deliver my next two babies at Makati Medical Center.
For a few years it seemed as if I was always pregnant or nursing.
I absolutely loved having my babies in the Philippines. I actually loved having my babies more in the Philippines than I did in America and I think that is largely due to my doctor, Doctora Henson. She is an angel. She literally cried tears of joy with each of my babies that she delivered. My first labor was long and at a birthing center in Seattle with midwives I had only known for six weeks as we had just moved from Manila. After 12 hours I got transferred to a hospital and delivered twenty minutes later to a doctor I had literally never met. It was long and painful. My births in Manila were shorter, medicated and controlled. My anesthesiologist, Dr. Jesus (pronounced ‘Hey Zeus’) was super cute which was slightly uncomfortable but he worked miracles, just like his name would indicate, with that epidural. Makati Med is an older hospital but it was still clean and nice. For my first delivery we made the mistake of choosing the budget option for a single room post-delivery, the postpartum rooms weren’t quite as nice, in fact they were very basic. We did not make the same mistake with our second delivery and had a much better room. The 24 hours after having babies was somewhat overbearing. The nurses came in literally every hour through to the night to check the temperature of the baby and give me medicine. Due to our preferences, we left a day early so we could get more uninterrupted rest.
My husband Jake was very involved in my prenatal care. At many of my OB appointments male spouses accompanied their spouses, this was very common. In regards to the actual delivery and males being present, I have heard a number of times that men are not allowed in the delivery room. Since Doctora Henson was so personal she knew that Jake was essentially my doula so this didn’t even come up with our situation. She works with a large number of foreign expats so she is very culturally sensitive.
Makati Medical Center: M-F 2-5pm; F 2:30-5pm Sat 9-12 pm 888-8889 Local #2211 Hall B 221
St. Luke's Hospital:
M-Th 2-5 PM; F 9-12 NN
Doctora Henson is well loved by so many, especially us.
The Philippines has a high statistic of home births which I have been told is due to many women not being able to afford private hospital births. Most of my local Filipino friends delivered in hospitals. However, there is a rise of natural water births and home births but that is not entirely for economic reasons.
Breakfast of champions post delivery.
The Philippines is quite progressive in terms of women in leadership roles. Women are the workforce here. It is one of the aspects I love most about Filipino culture. The Philippines has had a number of female presidents, many hold high positions in companies and there are heaps of female health professionals. Our dentist, pediatrician, optometrist, pulmonologist and OBGYN are all female and this is not uncommon. Female doctors here are referred to as Doctora, which I actually love!
When we visit the pediatrician we first check in at the insurance office and get a receipt to then take up to the pediatrician. Next, we wait in a line designated for the specific floor that our pedia is located on. Our pedia has open office hours so you wait in the waiting room/line until it's your turn, no appointments can be made. All of us enter the room together and she checks them out one by one. Once I had the third baby I started bringing Chanda Poppins with me to doctors appointments, she's the best!
The first three years of Oz life he was hospitalized seven times, all due to asthma.
We visit the dentist weekly (yes weekly, making up for lost time) and Dr. Tan has become our friend. Plus, she is a remarkable dentist.
Here's a little video of what it's like for us to visit the dentist in Manila.