Prenatal Care at a Chinese Hospital in Chengdu

My wife is 23 weeks pregnant with our second child. We’ve been in Chengdu now for about one month and we plan to return home to Hawaii for the baby’s birth sometime around the 32nd week. Air China doesn’t allow pregnant women to fly beyond their 35th week. In the meantime, while still in Chengdu we needed to find an OB/GYN to provide prenatal care. in our first week here our first born son was sick so we took him to see family doctor Brian Robinson of the Heart to Heart Clinic (map). It had been a difficult weekend with Noah being ill so when Dr. Robinson saw us on Monday morning we were so relieved. He answered all our questions and was very kind. We chatted with him about various other topics from whether we should have our second baby in China to the mold problem in Chengdu due to damp weather. When we talked about where to get prenatal care, he suggested we look into the Sichuan Provincial Hospital for Women & Children and told us generally where it is but he couldn’t remember what name of the doctor there who speaks English. A few weeks later we attended the International Fellowship and met a lady who gave Elisabeth the name of a woman who recently got prenatal care here in Chengdu and had her baby in Beijing. Through that contact we were able to get detailed information on how to get to hospital that Dr. Robinson had recommended.

Sichuan Provincial Hospital for Women And Children

四川省妇幼保健院 (sìchuān shěng fùyǒu bǎojiàn yuàn)

Website: fybj.net

Dr. Xiao Bing(肖兵)

Dr. Xiao has out patient office hours at the hospital only on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. He is very friendly, helpful and has great English.

When To Go

When you go to see Dr. Xiao on either a Tuesday or Thursday morning, I recommend going early, by 8 am, because it gets VERY crowded. We arrived only at 10:30 am and by that time, his appointment calendar was full for the morning and the registration people weren’t going to allow us to have an appointment. However, because we had already spoken to Dr. Xiao by phone earlier we were able to ask him in person for special permission to register, which he graciously gave us. His nurse then was very kind to help us through the registration process. Takeaway lesson: go early.

Getting There

The hospital is right on the northwest section of the 2nd Ring Road. If you are familiar with the area it is north of the Metro Cash & Carry wholesale store (probably something like a Costco or Sam’s Club) and down the street from the Auchan supermarket (like a Walmart super store).

Hospital Address: 中国四川省成都市金牛区蜀汉路 (map)

Going by Taxi

We were able to take a taxi just by telling the driver to take us to the sìchuān shěng fùyǒu bǎojiàn yuàn. There is a Chengdu city women and children’s hospital also. So the driver may ask to clarify whether it is the Sichuan provincial or Chengdu city women and children’s hospital. You can also tell the driver that the hospital is on the intersection of 2nd Ring Road and Shuhan Road (蜀汉路).

Local Vicinity

On the north corner of the intersection is the Xiqu or West Chengdu Hospital. You don’t want to go there.

To the west of the Xiqu hospital the entire Shuhan street is blocked off for an entire block all the way to Auchan where a subway stop is being constructed. So in the future, it will be convenient to get to this hospital by subway.

On the south corner of the intersection is the women and children’s hospital. Notice the hospital’s sign in red above the building.The three characters say 省 for city, 妇 for mother and 幼 for young/children.

Turn down Shuhan Road (蜀汉路) and you’ll see this sign on the south side of the street just in from the corner.

Registration

The first thing you need to do

Enter the hospital compound via the driveway just to the left of the sign. You will have to navigate around a lot of cars and people coming in and out of the driveway. At the end of the driveway you’ll see this statue.

Look to the right and you’ll see the hospital’s main building.

Walk toward it until you see the ramp and cashier window on the ground floor on the right side of the building.

You’ll need to get a registration form from the information desk which is just opposite the cashier. Notice the girls with the pink caps in the photo below. The registration form is a printed on a half-sheet piece of paper. You may see other people filling out the form there. You’ll need to write down your family name and given name (either Chinese or English is fine). You’ll also need to fill out your date of birth, occupation and residential address. We forgot to bring our passports but in the end we didn’t need to show any form of ID.

After filling out the form head over to the registration windows; there are three of them. Just to the left of the information desk is the pharmacy. There is a LED electronic screen above it as shown below with windows #1 and #2.

That’s not the registration desk. To the left of the pharmacy window are three windows under and even larger LED electronic signboard. I would have posted a picture of the registration desk but one of the pink-hat girls told me I couldn’t take pictures in there. Look for the Chinese word for registration which is 挂号(guàhào) in the large font in the upper left corner of the LED screen. Wait your turn in one of the lines; we used the far right one which had a nice cool breeze from a nearby vent. Show the lady your registration form. We paid ¥14.5 RMB for the registration fee and were given a medical card with its all-important magnetic stripe (almost everything is computerized) along with a medical records handbook.

Tell the registration person that you want to see Xiao Bing yīshēng (医生) and they will give you a registration ticket if an appointment is available. On the LED informational sign above the registration desk you’ll see scrolling information with doctor’s names and whether or not there are any appointment slots available for a particular doctor. Look for Dr. Xiao’s name which is 肖兵. If you see 有号 on the line where you see his name, there are appointment available. But if you see 无号 in red, then unfortunately his schedule is full.

Going to see Dr. Xiao

Dr. Xiao’s office is diagonally across the courtyard. Go out of the registration/pharmacy/cashier area and follow the circular driveway until you see this little pathway.

Walk down and take the second entrance on your left. Notice the sign that says Obstetric Clinic.

Turn right at the little doorway.

When we went today it was very crowded. This line down the little doorway is a line of people queuing up to see the nurse.

A view of the nurse’s station from another angle.

Show the nurse your medical card, records handbook and appointment slip. She will take your blood pressure. Afterwards you’ll need to wait your turn in the waiting area. Some mothers have to wait hours for their appointment. At some point you might need to use the bathroom. Look for this sign.

We really didn’t understand the system of when you get called for your appointment. But perhaps ours was a special case because Dr. Xiao just squeezed us in. In any case, he came out of his office and called us in when it was our turn. He seemed quite knowledgeable and after reviewing Elisabeth’s prior prenatal care from our time in Japan he determined that she needed blood tests for blood sugar (血糖 xuètáng) levels and for liver and a color ultrasound. He also ordered a test of my blood type (血型 xuèxíng). He used the computer and printer in his office to print out slips of paper for the procedures he ordered and a prescription (处方 chǔfāng) for the sugar to be used in the blood sugar test.

This is Noah in outdoor the waiting area.

Paying at the Cashier

Take the orders and prescription(s) to the cashier at the main hospital building. The cashier will ask you to swipe your medical card and the computer will print out a receipt of charges for all procedures and medicine. Our bill for the visit, blood work, sugar and ultrasound was ¥431 RMB. That’s only about  $67 USD … inexpensive medical care without insurance!

After paying, take your receipt and prescription to the pharmacy to get your medicine.

Ultrasound

Then we went to the ultrasound office to schedule an appointment for the ultrasound. The ultrasound office is just opposite the Obstetric clinic. Look for the sign which says Image Dept. There are multiple offices in this department. The ultrasound office is the one to the left of the main door.

We were able to get an appointment for the very next morning! By the way, if you want to know whether your baby is a boy or girl, ask the ultrasound technician to look for the sex of your baby before they do the ultrasound. As a normal practice, they don’t look for this and are unwilling to inform parents of their baby’s sex because some may choose to abort girl babies due to the one-child policy. But as a foreigner, the technician will tell you if you ask in advance. We didn’t ask in advance and so we weren’t able to find out our baby’s gender.

Blood Tests

In the courtyard, look for the sign which says “Clinical Laboratory”.

Before going into the Clinical Laboratory, you’ll first need to get labels printed for your vials of blood which they will take. So first go to the door to the left of the Clinical Laboratory.

Go in there an swipe your medical card at the window and they will give you printed labels for your blood vials. The labels along with your medical card and blood test orders will look like this.

Then take those labels with you to the Clinical Laboratory.

You’ll see two windows where people line up to get their blood drawn.

It looks like they use brand new needles for each patient (because they rip open a needle package for each patient) but they don’t change gloves between patients.

Here’s Elisabeth getting her blood drawn. Immediately afterward she was instructed to mix the sugar we had gotten the day before in 150 ml of water to drink for the blood sugar test. It was a good thing we had brought a bottle of filtered water of our own to mix the sugar into. They don’t provide cups or water there for you.  You need to bring your own.

Here’s me getting my finger pricked in another window for my blood type test. Yeah, I know…I’m almost 40 and don’t know my own blood type!

Hopefully this post will provide helpful information to any English speaking foreigners who need prenatal care in Chengdu and want to try getting it from a Chinese doctor.

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15 Comments

  1. Wow, it's so much more complicated. You guys must enjoy the adventure. Keep us posted if you find out if it's a Trugirl or Truboy. 🙂

  2. I am glad you found a Chinese doctor who can speak English for Elisabeth's prenatal care. Glad to know that you guys are coming back to Hawaii to have the 2nd child delivery. Have a safe trip back. Can't wait to see you all.

  3. Wow it would be a challege for me! Bravo you guys! I see the your thoughtfulness for other foreigner friends.

  4. OMG! Good job! Truparents! Bring your PNC record to Hawaii, save some bucks! See you guys soon!
    Your PNC jounary reminded me the first year I was in Hawaii, it was a tight squeezed. Ah!

  5. Hey guys, I went through blood tests and hospital experiences here in Chiang Mai — I feel your adventure! Oh, Asian hospitals and out-of-pocket affordable expenses….

  6. The treatment modes of this Chinese hospital are really interesting and these conventional treatment modes from China are showing positive results. The prenatal care of this hospital is really an achievement to Chinese medical practitioners. Good job guys! cheap jewellery

  7. Thanks for sharing this info. It is really very helpful for me. Now I am in pregnant in 12 weeks. I need more care about my baby boy . He is on the way. I should try to contact this hospital, as soon as possible.

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