Jan 8, 2019

Birth story : Uncleanliness

Warning: this post is about birth and uncleanliness, so if that makes you uncomfortable, tread lightly while reading this. 

I've had quite a few experiences where the hospitals in Japan have been absolutely revolting. This includes the doctor who gave me a checkup after I was hit by a car, from him sticking his pinky in my open sore after scratching his nose and one of his aides dropping a q-tip on the floor and picking it up and putting it back in the clean sanitary container.

Unsanitary conditions and no one seeming to make an effort to keep things clean, but the worst instance of this had to be the clinic where I gave birth to my son. I wrote about how it turned out to be a baby farm and the place seemed to just push babies out like a farm, assisting ladies along through their births as if they were cattle.

As bad as this impersonal approach to giving birth was, the condition of the surgical room I labored through, the birthing room, and the room we slept in the following night could be worse. The impression of the clinic when I was still pregnant was a very clean modern place that was well-kept by the staff. The main waiting room was always clean, the trash emptied and things often wiped down periodically during the hours-long waits I spent there. I was even given a mini tour of the upstairs during a time when there were nearly no patients occupying any of the rooms. But this clearly was a time when they had the time to spend to make sure everything looked good.

When I gave birth, it was hectic and rushed. This doesn't justify what we saw when I gave birth. For starters, when I went into the surgical room to be attached to the IV and monitor in order to be medically induced, I had plenty of time to look around that room. Underneath the flimsy table was a disposable towel, ...

Birth story : Uncleanliness photo... the thing that looks like an indoor doggy potty sheet, that was tapped down around the edges. This would have been a good idea, easy to clean the floor, except it clearly hadn't been changed for a while. There were blood stains in different places and dirt build-up around the tape. The stool I used to climb up onto the table had dried blood on it and when my husband arrived, the room slippers he was borrowing also had dried blood on them.

Then, after an hour laboring miserably in this dirty room, the staff told us they had finished clearing out the other woman who gave birth from the birthing room and I could be moved there.

What felt like only a few minutes later, my baby boy was out and crying, then whisked away for tests. All the staff left my husband and I alone while we waited the hour to make sure I wasn’t going to start hemorrhage or anything.

Then we looked around. Ugh! There were bloody disposable towels hanging limply from the wastebasket from the previous woman’s birth. There was fresh blood, both on the chair and the floor around it, that was half dry leaving us to think it wasn’t mine. Overnight, in the bathroom shared by the three of us new moms in an overcrowded room, was the shared the sight of our diapers of blood from bleeding through the night in the bathroom waste bin. It was too full to put anything else in it and in the morning when I left that room, it still hadn’t been emptied even though during the morning checkup I told the staff it was full.

When I talked to others about their experience at this clinic, however, they were all pleased. The seven other ladies didn’t seem to mind the blood or full trash bins. Their babies were healthy and that's all that matters right? One lady even brought up how clean the waiting room downstairs is, as if the room she gave birth in, and then slept, in didn’t count because everything else looked so nice. If the face is nice who cares about the rest? Thinking about this, it is also the same for the clinic I went to whee the doctor touched my sore with his dirty finger and didn’t sterilize the wound.

“He has such good recommendations, you must have just had a bad experience,” I was told when sharing my story with someone who lives near that clinic.

I think many people take what others say over their own experience and therefore these clinics continue to be popular. I feel like in the States because you are paying so much for the care, more people would be vocal about any bad they find in the place like I am here.

Then again, maybe my bad experiences were just flukes?

I want to add that there are plenty of clean, wonderful clinics and hospitals that I have gone too in Japan as well.



American step mom with beautiful Brazilian babies. Raising them in Japan. I'm a crafter too


  • BlueButterfly

    on Jan 8

    Seems like you were really unlucky with your hospital choises. Moreover, it is very frightening to read how sometimes the hygiene is handled especially in the hospital. I´ve already stayed to times in bigger hospitals in Tokyo and uncleanliness was never a topic. All was very clean except a small cockroach during the hot summer season, which you can find often in mostly every building in Japan. Even when I told the staff about it, they tried their best to get rid of it very fast and with no complains.

  • edthethe

    on Jan 15

    @BlueButterfly I have had some really bad luck when it comes to clinics. And because there are so many in this area that are awful, most people just think that is how it is supposed to be. They don't look for better care so people still support these clinics without complaint. This means the places never have the incentive to change.