For expats living in Japan, aside from the realization that you are expecting, that fear may be compounded even further by having to figure out prenatal care, doctors, official registration and the like. I can relate. Not to worry, Savvy Tokyo is here to help! After you’ve done your little happy dance, a few fist pumps and taken some deep calming breaths—read of the following tips.

Confirming the pregnancy

If you suspect you may be pregnant, you’ll be happy to know that simple, pee-on-a-stick type home pregnancy tests (ninshin kensayaku) can typically be found at any drugstore for a few hundred yen. To confirm your pregnancy head to your local hospital or ladies’ clinic for a checkup.

Hospitals and birth centers book up very fast, so you will want to get onto this fairly quickly.

I went for my confirmation appointment when I was six-weeks pregnant amid much ribbing from my husband—who thought I was being a little overeager—only to find that the delivery suite at Kawasaki Municipal Tama Hospital (my local) was already fully booked for anyone beyond the eight week mark. Note that you don’t need to go to the facility where you wish to give birth for this initial checkup, but depending on the hospital, it may mean your name gets pencilled in even before confirmation.

Your doctor will confirm your pregnancy via transvaginal ultrasound. This can be a blessing and a curse. While it’s exciting to have a scan and possibly see your tiny, flashing bean straightaway, it can also be unnecessarily concerning if no heartbeat can be found, since it’s not always possible at such an early stage. So if not, try not to worry—your doctor will likely ask you to return the following week to try again.

Once your doctor spies a heartbeat, you will be issued …continue reading