Sunday, February 15, 2009

Health care reform

Iryou seido kaikaku

My maternity leave officially starts tomorrow. In Japan, you get six weeks before your due date and eight weeks after you give birth. I have a feeling this baby is going to show early, but we'll see.

My prenatal checks are currently once every two weeks. I kind of feel like this is overkill, but oh well.

In Japan, you get issued a mother-baby book (boshi techou) sometime around your 10th week of pregnancy. You get one book for every baby, so if you have twins you get three. Health care providers will write down info like prenatal exam data, vaccination dates and lot numbers, and dental exam records. This is the Pumpkin Princess's book

and this is the in-utero Pumpkin Prince's book.

The Pumpkin Prince's book, in addition to being Disneyfied, has info about family services, general health care, and first aid in the back. The Pumpkin Princess's doesn't (the same info came in a separate booklet that I received the same time as the mother-baby book).

I guess they tweak health care every so often. Which, of course, is a good thing.

One of the things I noticed this time around is that the weight gain restrictions are a bit more lax then they were when I was pregnant with the Pumpkin Princess. That time around, I was told to limit my weight gain to 8 kilos (18 pounds). Yes, I tried. No, it didn't work. I was doing barely OK until maternity leave started, and then my weight skyrocketed. No, I'm not telling you how much. I will say that the Tomato Mommy was told to limit her weight gain to 4 kilos (9 pounds) and did as she was told. Amazing, amazing woman.

Anyway, this time around, I was told that I could gain up to 12 kilos (26 pounds). See the chart?

Apparently, recent research has shown that low birth weight babies have an increased risk for developing diabetes and hyperlipidemia and cardiac disease later in life, and being overly agressive in keeping maternal weight in check is not as good as previously thought.

Whatever works. Maternity leave started today. I'm trying to avoid just sitting around like I did last time (I ended up spending a lot of time fooling around on the internet and eating food I didn't need to eat). We'll see how it goes.

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