Monday, April 9, 2012

What to expect when you are pregnant in South Korea: Going to the OBGYN

You might be surprised by a number of things when you go to an OBGYN in SK:
1. The amount of tests you will be offered.
2. The "wand" ultrasound which will be given up to about 10 weeks.  (It is not painful BTW). Here
3.  The fact that you can get an ultrasound + pictures for the low cost of 17,700 KRW (around $15.00 US) everytime you go to see the doctor and 3D ultrasounds + pictures for around 45,000 KRW (around $40.00 US).

These prices are for regular Korean OBGYN clinics.  If you go to English-speaking clinics or the large hospitals you will be paying much much more.  I go to MOTAE (02-888-0204) which is located on the corner of the Seoul National University Subway Station.  There is an excellent doctor there who is very helpful and who speaks near-perfect English - Dr. Kim (a man).

TESTS: (the weeks are approximate and costs as of 2012)
First visit - The wand ultrasound + urine pregnancy test + pap smear
8 weeks - STD Blood Test
12 weeks - Nuchal Scan + Blood test for down syndrome
15 weeks - Quad Test (Blood Test)
20 weeks - Level 2 Scan (Ultrasound) - 47,000 KRW

Note: If any of these scans or blood tests come back with positive results for a chromosonal defect you will be offered an  amniocentesis which is a long needle that will be inserted through your stomach to obtain amniotic fluid -  the cost ranges from around 600,000 KRW to 1,000,000 KRW depending on the clinic and doctor. You can refuse to take any of these tests.

24 weeks - Glucose Test (Blood and Urine Test) - 36,000 KRW
28 weeks - 3D scan (Ultrasound)  - 50,700 KRW
30 weeks - Regular checkup + sonogram - 17,700 KRW
32 weeks - Regular checkup + sonogram - 17,700 KRW
34 weeks - Regular checkup + sonogram + hemoglobin blood test + urine test - 35,000 KRW
36 weeks - Regular checkup + songram + non-stress test - 45,000 KRW
37 weeks - Regular checkup + songram + non-stress test - 45,000 KRW
38 weeks - Regular checkup + songram + non-stress test - 45,000 KRW

Delivery + 2 night stay - 240,000 KRW
Pediatric check-up + Baby's BCG shot - 100,000 KRW

Vitamin Information:
- up until 13 weeks you will be told to take a pre-natal vitamin with folic acid, after this time it is up to you whether or you want to continue or not.
- after 13 weeks you will be advised to take iron and Omega 3 supplements - you can buy these either at your clinic or at a pharmacy nearby.
- you can receive free supplements from your local bogeonso (gu office) (apparently you can also get free clothes, soaps, creams, ect. for your baby).

500,000 KRW KB Mom Card (고운맘카드):
- If you have health insurance in SK and are pregnant you can apply for the 500,000KRW KB Card which is basically free money that can be used at your OBGYN.
- To apply you must get a letter from your clinic indicating that you are pregnant.
- Take this letter + your alien registration to any KB bank.
- Once there a clerk will help you fill out the application form and give you a card that looks exactly like a bank or credit card.  You must make an account with the bank first.  I believe you must put 5,000KRW into your account, or else it costs 5,000KRW to set it up (one of those).
- You then use it at your clinic like you would a credit card.
- You then can use it everytime you go to the clinic for an amount up to 60,000KRW a day.
- The card becomes valid the day after you register for it.
- The 500,000KRW amount comes into effect April 01, 2012.
- The balance of your remaining credit can be found at the bottom of the clinic receipt under 잔액.

Finding Out Your Baby's Sex
- It's illegal for doctors in Korea to tell you the sex of your baby before 20 weeks.
- Nevertheless they will probably give you a hint such as "Your baby is handsome" or they will let you see the ultrasound and you can figure it out for yourself