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Thailand - Birth

Expectant mothers in Thailand are monitored by their gynaecologists at a monthly appointment until they reach the final two months of pregnancy when the appointments are more frequent. Hospitals do not organize ante-natal classes but there are privately-run classes in most areas of the country.

Most hospitals in Thailand are modern and most women in the country will have a hospital birth. Home births are not encouraged and it is only those women who live in very rural areas that will need this option. Insurance policies often do not include the expenses connected to a home birth. Those who are attending Samitivej Hospital will find that there is a birthing centre and women there have optons for a natural birth or a water birth.

All nurses in Thailand study midwifery as part of their usual training but it is usual for the birth itself to be overseen by an obstetrician. Most women will remain in hospital for a few days after they have given birth, but this will depend upon the type of birth.

Following the birth both mother and baby will have a regular checkup. The baby will have a check-up during its first week then have 6 further examinations before its first birthday. There are three examinations before its second birthday and then a regular check-up every six months until the age of 6.

When the mother is discharged from the hospital she will be given the health record for the baby. The record can be in English if the baby was born at an international hospital. Every time the child needs to see a doctor before its 18th birthday the record should be taken along to the appointment. The doctor will update it each time. This is also a record of vaccinations. The only compulsory vaccination is the BCG, for tuberculosis, although there is a list of recommended vaccinations for conditions such as measles, mumps, tetanus and diphtheria.

The birth of a baby must be registered within 30 days of the birth taking place. It is only legally recognized if the birth is registered and this must be done at the district office (khet/amphur). A certain amount of paperwork needs to be completed before an official birth certificate can be issued. All paperwork is done in Thai and at most district offices there are no English speakers, although a translator can be arranged. Visits to the office are not by appointment, you simply turn up and wait your turn. Either the mother can go alone or she can take the father with her.

When naming the child it should be remembered that there are several restrictions on the name you can give a child. It is not possible to use the same name as a member of the Thai royal family for instance as these names are unique.

It is recommended that the birth of a child to expat parents is also registered at their own embassy so that this can also be recorded in their home country. In this instance you will need the Thai birth certificate (translated into English), copies of the parents’ passports, their marriage certificate and the relevant fee charged by the embassy. Different embassies have different fees and will take a different amount of time to process the registration.

There are limited circumstances in Thailand which will allow a woman to seek an abortion. If the pregnancy is a threat to her life or if there is a danger to her mental or physical health she will be able to obtain an abortion. If the expectant mother is below the age of 15 or if the woman has been the victim of a crime such as rape, forced prostitution or incest then an abortion can be carried out. An abortion can only be carried out by a fully qualified doctor and it should be noted that not all hospitals offer this procedure. If an abortion is needed then there are also legal proceedings to be followed as the hospital cannot carry out an abortion without the correct paperwork.

Thailand has a number of family planning clinics throughout the country which can offer advice and assistance on all aspects of pregnancy.

Useful Resources

Planned Parenthood Association of Thailand (PPAT)
Tel: 02 941 2320
Email: info@ppat.or.th

Read more about this country

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