Japan has a high-quality national health system, offering universal coverage and free choice of health care provider. This is of particular relevance for new mothers and babies.
Every few weeks, we receive vouchers in the post from our local public health authority (Minato-ku), which allow us access to a variety of “Mother and Child Health Care Services”, for free.
Accompanied by handy English translations, the vouchers can be used at a number of designated hospitals and clinics in our area, within a specific time-frame.
Free for all babies
Minato-ku – and indeed all of Tokyo’s 23 wards – offer the following “Mother and Child Health Care Services”:
- 1 month health check-up
- Hello Baby Home Visit (a midwife or public health nurse can visit your home up until your baby is 4 months old)
- 3-4 month health check up
- 4 month child consultation
- 6-7 month health check up
- 9-10 month health check up
- 18 month check up (internal medicine, dental, childcare consultation)
- 3 year check up
Each time you use one of these services, the doctor / healthcare professional records it in your Maternal and Child Health Handbook (boshi-techo).
In tandem, additional support services are provided as follows:
- New Mother Health Consultation (a midwife or public health nurse can visit your home up until your baby is 1 year old)
- Hello Mama Salon (group meetings for parents and their 1-2 month old babies; lectures are also offered)
- It’s Mama Time (a group for mothers to share information and “discuss the challenges of child-rearing and housekeeping”)
- Suku-suku childrearing consultation (consultations about baby’s growth, development, nutrition, psychology and speech)
- Usa-chan Club (for first time mothers and their babies between 2-3 months old)
- Baby Food Class
- Birthday Dental Check up
And, mental health support is available for mums at any time, either on the telephone or face to face (Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays) at the Minato-ku public health centre.
What we do
After giving birth at Nisseki Hospital and getting the all-clear at Hope’s 1 month check, I decided to have our subsequent check ups done at Sanno Hospital – only a 7 minute walk from our apartment, and with doctors who can see you on time!
For the baby’s 6-7 month check up today, we saw the Sanno’s Dr Sato. It was the first time we’d met this pediatrician and I can heartily recommend her to any mums keen to have appointments in English.
For more information
Minato Public Health Centre, Health Promotion Section: 03-6400-0084
Minato Call (City information service): 03-5472-3710 (Japanese only)
Sanno Hospital: 03-3402-3151 HERE
How does this match up to the services provided for new mothers and babies in your area? Is Japan providing exceptional care? I’d love to hear!