If you think you are pregnant, make an appointment to see an OBGYN to confirm your pregnancy.
Pregnancy tests are not covered by Japanese Health Insurance. The cost varies depending on your condition and where you go. Fees are usually around 10,000 yen.
Home pregnancy test kits are widely available at drugstores, starting around 1,000 yen. They are called Ninshin Kensayaku （妊娠検査薬） in Japanese.
Available from the following providers
Provide confirmation of pregnancy, prenatal checkups and consultations. Many of them have no birthing facilities, but some clinics with beds provide labor and delivery services. If not, doctors will refer you to contracted hospitals for labor and delivery.
Clinics are a good choice if you are returning to your home town or country for delivery.
Ob/gyn department of General Hospitals
Some large hospitals have an OBGYN department with labor and delivery facilities. They provide pregnancy confirmation and prenatal checkups as well.
Due to the limited number of these hospitals, moms-to-be are required to make an appointment for delivery soon after they confirm pregnancy.
These are hospitals totally devoted to pre- and post-pregnancy care. A Maternity Hospital refers to a maternity-focused medical provider with more than 19 beds. The difference between OBGYN clinics is size; these are bigger and have more staff, equipment and facilities for prenatal care. Some maternity hospitals have additional departments such as Pediatrics. Maternity hospitals are also rather rare, so moms-to-be are often required to make an appointment for delivery soon after they confirm pregnancy.
Midwives manage pre and postnatal checkups, labor and delivery. Birth centers accept a small number of pregnant women and have family-oriented atmosphere and environment. They are contracted with OBGYN doctors and hospitals for medical emergencies.
Prenatal Checkup Costs
Japanese Health Insurance does not cover prenatal checkups, but you can use discount coupons provided by your local city.
When you report your pregnancy to your local city hall, you will receive a Maternal and Child Health Handbook and prenatal checkup coupons. With these coupons, your co-pay costs will be around 3,000* yen or free*
Note if you receive checkups outside your registered town, you may have to pay additional fees.
If you have a private insurance, contact your insurer and ask about their pregnancy coverage. Some companies cover all the costs for checkups, admission and delivery.
*We received feedback that this cost was 1,500 yen in other areas. Most of our information is based on the Tokyo-area, but costs may vary based on your municipal government.
Prenatal parents’ classes
Your local health center can provide prenatal parents’ classes for expecting parents.
Midwives and nurses give information about pregnancy, childbirth and infant care. It is also a good opportunity to get to know moms-to-be in your neighborhood.
Classes held by the City Health Centre are normally free of charge, but they are given in Japanese.
Maternity hospitals provide prenatal parents’ classes as well. The cost varies depending on the hospital.
Paperwork and Things to do
Notification of pregnancy
Moms-to-be are requested to notify their local city office after confirming their pregnancy. The expectant mother will receive a Maternal and Child Health Handbook on the spot.This handbook keeps records of prenatal checkups and the child’s physical growth.
You need to take this handbook to prenatal and baby checkups, as well as when your child gets vaccinations.
A multilingual Maternal and Child Health handbook is available for order from the Maternal and Child Health Organization K.K. http://www.mcfh.co.jp/cat11/ (Website is Japanese only)
Handbooks are available in English, Korean, Chinese, Thai, Tagalog, Portuguese, Indonesian and Spanish.
You may be able to receive one of these multilingual handbooks free of charge when you give your pregnancy notification to your local city hall. Otherwise you can order them directly from the Maternal and Child Health Organization K.K.
JHI can place an order on behalf of you (assistance fee is 1100 yen). Contact us.
After your baby is born
You will need to register the birth of your baby at local City Hall within 14 days of the birth.
Even if the parents of a baby are not Japanese, birth registration is compulsory for all babies born in Japan. If both parents are foreign, the baby also needs to have alien registration within 60 days of birth.
Take the following things with you for registration:
- Birth certificate you received from the hospital
- Maternal and Child Health Handbook
- Your health insurance card and seal/hanko (if you have one)
Nurses or midwives will visit a newborn’s house to give guidance to newborn mothers. The nurses check the baby’s growth and provide information on care for newborns.
This service is offered by request, so make an application for your local health center.
JHI can contact them and make an arrangement for them to visit.
Free Medical Care Certificate for Infants
The free Medical Care Certificate for Infants is available from your local City Hall.
This certificate allows your child to receive treatments and medications at local hospitals or pediatric clinics for free.
In the 23 wards of Tokyo, it is valid until your child reaches his or her third year of junior high school (15 years old), however it varies depending on your residential area.
Here is the feedback of our user who used our assistance services
I am Steffen from Germany and work as a Marketing Director in a company in Tokyo. My wife is from Hong Kong and we both can only speak, read and understand very little Japanese.
We are living in Japan for 3 years. I have been extremely busy at work ever since and at the same time we also got married in Japan and had to organize celebrations in Germany and Hong Kong. A few months afterwards my wife became pregnant.
Hence the priority to continue to learn Japanese naturally became lower. Unfortunately the support of my company has been very limited. Whenever I asked for support to check, translate or provide information about medical procedures in particular, they would just give me a link or a telephone number and ask me to settle it myself; however that all these links and numbers are only in Japanese. They would not even let me contact my health insurance directly or through a 3rd party to clarify my questions directly.
After spending many nights researching the web to find out everything myself, I came across JHI website and I got in touch through the provided email address. From then a lot changed, as I finally found somebody who is fluent in English and very competent in all those local medical and governmental procedures. During my research I found a lot of important information myself online, however it is often not complete and very difficult to judge, how this information affects you in reality.
And this is only one example where JHI did really an excellent job, as they always replied within 24 hours and could explain things to me in a detailed and much more pragmatic and individualized way.
On top of that JHI helped me significantly by arranging a translator to attend hospital and community parent classes and also for the midwife visit at our home after birth.
Moreover JHI supported me after the birth of my daughter to go to Ward office to do all the necessary paperwork and registrations in order to obtain e.g. health insurance, visa, passport, child allowance.
I deeply appreciate the professional and passionate support from the JHI staff. Without them, our experience of having a baby in Japan would have been even much much harder.
Without any hesitation I recommend JHI to every foreigner who is struggling with Japanese language.
I wish, there would be much more organization like JHI for foreigners in Japan. Thank you very much JHI and I wish you personally and professionally only the very best.