Having a Baby in Thailand: A Step-by-Step Guide for Expecting Parents

What can you expect when having a baby in Thailand? This guide takes you on a step-by-step journey through the process.
A lady holding a newborn in her arms and the title: Having a Baby in Thailand, a Step-by-Step Guide for Expecting Parents

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There’s something unforgettable about having kids. But there’s something even more unforgettable about having kids in Thailand.

When I first wrote this guide back in 2016, my wife and I were relatively inexperienced parents.

Fast forward three years, two kids, and half a decade living in Thailand, I’ve picked up a few more things about having kids in Thailand.

Since we’ve had our kids, friends and family in Bangkok have had kids as well.

This update then, will strengthen what was already included in the original guide. Except this time it’s packed with even more insight.

I cover the same questions, such as:

  • Where do you start?
  • How do you find a good doctor?
  • How do you find a good hospital?
  • How is childbirth handled in Thailand?
  • How much will it cost if you don’t have insurance?

But I also cover some more topics that weren’t included in the original guide.

In case you want to find out a good hospital for delivering a baby, you can check out this list.

Pregnancy Tests

If you or your partner feels sick, tired, sensitive to smells, irritated, then it’s time to get tested.

You can take a pregnancy test at home before you go to a clinic or hospital.

At-Home Pregnancy Tests

You can buy an over-the-counter, do-it-yourself home pregnancy test from any local pharmacy or supermarket in Thailand.

Most supermarkets have a pharmacy inside near the front of the store. Don’t know where to find a supermarket? You can find the closest Big C or Foodland by checking their websites.

You can even order a pregnancy test online.

Pregnancy tests cost about 150 baht.

After you get the blue stripes or pink plus symbol or smiley face or any other tell-tale sign you’re pregnant, follow up with a doctor.

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Clinical and Hospital Tests

Most doctors in Thailand work out of hospitals or clinics.

Clinics are what we’d call doctor’s offices in the West. Clinics are good if you only want to confirm you or your partner are pregnant.

Bria Lab is a popular clinic in Bangkok that offers pregnancy screenings.

If your ultrasound and blood work come back positive, get checked at a hospital.

Hospitals have better equipment to help you through your pregnancy. This is important if you’re concerned about your health.

Prenatal Care

Pregnancy related health problems are common and, in most cases, you can avoid them. Especially if doctors detect them early. So it’s important for you and your growing baby to get health checkups.

Ideally, you should get your checkup before getting pregnant. But if you’re already pregnant, get one done as soon as possible.

During a health checkup, your doctor may recommend that you change or stop taking certain medicine that may be harmful to your baby, and they can detect and treat any health problems early on.

There are a lot of great hospitals in Thailand where you can get your health checkup done, but check out Bangkok Hospital.

Aside from having short wait times, Bangkok Hospital has been known to find health problems overlooked by other hospitals.

Calculating Your Budget

If you’re pregnant, you need to think about how much you can afford to spend on delivering your baby in Thailand.

A calculator and spreadsheet.
When you pay for your pregnancy out of pocket, the costs add up – even in Thailand.

If you have insurance, talk to your insurance company to find out what’s covered. And find out what hospitals they deal with. Ask your insurance company how they’re going to reimburse you if you have to pay out of pocket.

With Luma Health for example, you can get 80,000 baht coverage on the cost of delivering your baby if you take out insurance at least ten months before you deliver.

If you’re already pregnant (which is likely if you’re reading this article), then getting health insurance still has some benefits.

Although you won’t be covered for maternity costs, you’ll be covered for other general health problems. And you can buy coverage for your baby as soon as he or she is born.

If you don’t have health insurance, but you want coverage for your baby, you need to wait until your newborn is older than 15 days before you can buy it.

Most insurance companies won’t cover your baby since newborns face the most risks during their first two weeks of life.

If you want to compare more health insurance plans with maternity packages on one convenient website, check out Mister Prakan. Just enter your info, and you’re given a list of insurance plans sorted by price and coverage.

Pregnancy Packages

Most hospitals offer expecting parents “childbirth packages” for one flat rate. The cost of the package covers all normal delivery services.

If the mother or baby has problems before, during, or after delivery, the cost goes up.

An important note about private hospitals: Private hospitals offer childbirth packages for a set price. But it’s not unusual for new parents to walk away with a bill for three-times the amount of the package.

Hospitals sometimes add on services and costs without your consent. If you choose to deliver your baby at a private hospital, ask them what the package includes and what other services and costs you should expect.

Hospitals add to your package price the cost of extra nursing care for mom, emergency care for your newborn, and some medicine.

Ask hospital staff to get your approval before doing anything your package doesn’t include. Make sure you have a member of the hospital go over your costs line-by-line to be sure you actually received the services they charge you for.

Here is a table of hospitals in Thailand and what they charge for natural birth and C-section delivery packages.

HospitalNatural BirthC-Section
Bangkok Christian฿58,000฿82,000
Bangkok Hospital฿86,500฿130,000
Bumrungrad฿95,000฿149,000
Ramathibodi฿27,500฿55,000
Samitivej (Platinum)฿89,000฿119,000
Siriraj฿30,000฿42,000
Sikarin฿55,000฿74,000
St. Louis฿47,000฿71,000
Thainakarin฿43,000฿60,000

Costs During Pregnancy

Costs add up if you don’t have insurance. Aside from the delivery costs, you have to pay for:

  • Ultrasounds
  • Routine check-ups
  • Fetal tests

Tack on another 20,000 baht to 30,000 baht for these visits.

If you have insurance, routine checkups might be 100% covered. Or you might have a copayment. Check with your insurance company.

To find out more on how health insurance works in Thailand, read our in-depth guide to Thai health insurance.

My family’s biggest cost outside of our childbirth package was the ultrasound and blood work to test our baby for Down Syndrome. That test cost us 16,000 baht.

You should also have money set aside for non-medical costs. Moms-to-be need new clothes and plenty of food for their growing babies.

Discover ways to lower your expenses in our ebook, Thailand Starter Kit: Save Cash, Land a Job, Avoid Pitfalls, and More. The tips, tricks, and advice in this book could save your family over 5,000 baht every month.

30-Baht Card

Thailand has a 30-baht healthcare card for Thais who qualify. If you’re a native Thai woman or married to a native Thai woman, the government may give you or your wife free or discounted healthcare.

Each visit to the doctor is free up to five visits. But you have to go to a hospital within the 30-baht healthcare card network.

The downside to the 30-baht healthcare card is longer wait times during checkups and the inability to pick your doctor.

Paying Your Doctor

Some people may pay their doctor a “side-fee” for extra care, a private delivery room, and other amenities that they might not otherwise get.

This isn’t done on the record or through the hospital. It’s something you and your doctor agree to on the side.

I don’t recommend doing this. But you should know ahead of time that these things do happen in Thailand.

Researching Hospitals

Now that you have a budget in mind or you’ve spoken to your insurance company, it’s time to look for hospitals in Thailand.

Consider the steps in this section and the section on Finding a Doctor something you should do at the same time.

Private Hospitals

Private hospitals are a convenient choice when planning to have a baby in Thailand.

Many doctors spend their workweek at both public and private hospitals.

The biggest differences, then, between the hospitals isn’t the doctors, but rather the equipment, wait times, convenience, delivery choices, and prices.

Private hospitals also offer more perks, like cozy rooms, better food, or the rights of the father to be in the delivery room if you’re having a C-section.

A well-known private hospital that has a solid maternity program is Bangkok Hospital. They have modern facilities and experienced doctors and offer top-notch services.

Public Hospitals

Your cheapest choice for having a baby in Thailand is a public hospital. Public hospitals have good healthcare for the cost. But you wait longer to see the doctor—all day long.

You also don’t get to choose you doctor. In other cases, doctors at public hospitals might have less experience or they may be apprenticing under senior doctors.

If you’re interested in a public hospital for your delivery, check out this list of public hospitals in Thailand.

Premium Clinics

Premium clinics are part of public hospitals. But the service you get at a premium clinic is a step up from public hospitals.

For example, you get to pick a doctor. And most doctors who work at premium clinics also work at private hospitals. Wait times are shorter than wait times at public hospitals as well.

The cost of having a baby at a premium clinic is cheaper than private hospitals but cost more than public hospitals. But you get great healthcare for the value.

My wife had a lot of problems during her first pregnancy. She decided to deliver our second daughter at a premium clinic in Ramathibodi Hospital.

Ramathibodi has one of the best NICUs in Thailand. And her doctor had a lot of experience with high-risk pregnancies.

Taking Tours

Once you’ve slimmed down your choices, take a tour of the hospitals on your list.

On the tour you should visit the delivery ward—and just in case—the NICU. Ask plenty of questions just like you would back home.

Remember, things aren’t always done the same way in Thailand as they are in your home country. It’s better you know what to expect ahead of time so you’re not surprised on the big day.

Here are some important questions to ask:

  • Does this hospital deal with your insurance company?
  • Are special services available for high-risk pregnancies?
  • Who can be in the room during delivery (natural and C-section)?
  • Is your partner or child allowed to stay with you overnight?
  • Does the hospital offer private rooms? Do I have to pay extra for a private room?

You can get a good feel for a hospital and its staff by asking these general questions and more.

Finding Doctors

While you’re looking for the perfect hospital to welcome your baby to the world, you’re going to want to find the perfect doctor as well.

A doctor writing on a clipboard.
If you’re from the West, you want a doctor who can relate to your worries and who will answer your questions.

You should find a doctor who has either studied, worked, or lived abroad. Or at least find a doctor who understands Western culture because cross-cultural misunderstands can happen easily.

In Thailand, social hierarchy is important. It’s not always okay to question doctors. I learned this the hard way when my wife was pregnant.

One doctor got offended more than once about the questions we asked.

One day, the doctor felt my questions insulted her expertise. “You know,” she said as she scowled at me, “Thailand has smart doctors, too.”

I had to explain to her that the questions I was asking her were the same questions I’d ask any doctor in America as well, and that it wasn’t about Thailand having smart doctors.

The same doctor wouldn’t support my wife’s desire to push naturally because my wife’s first delivery was done through C-section.

But strangely enough the doctor told us that had I been Indian—not American—my wife could probably deliver our baby naturally.

But even if this is your first pregnancy, doctors push you to have a C-section. It’s more convenient for the doctor, and in some cases, makes more money for them and the hospital.

Doctors from the Childbirth and Breastfeeding Foundation of Thailand have fought tirelessly to change these policies.

To avoid some of the challenges we faced when finding a doctor, here are some important questions to ask potential doctors:

  • Are you board certified?
  • Will you listen to me and answer my questions? Be sure the doctor is open to answering your questions.
  • Are open to working with me and the outcome I expect? For example, if I want a natural birth after having a C-section the first time, will you support my decision?
  • Are you accessible? Can I reach you in an emergency?
  • Are you affiliated with the hospital I chose? Most doctors in Thailand work at several hospitals. Make sure he or she works at the hospital you decide to deliver at.

When looking for a doctor, find one who is open minded and used to working with Westerners. It’ll save a lot of trouble later on.

Or you can just visit one of these private hospitals.

Looking for Nannies

If you need help during your pregnancy with cleaning the house or getting your new baby’s bedroom in order, get a reputable and trustworthy nanny.

Compared to America, the cost of a nanny is fairly cheap in Thailand. And you decide how much you want them to help with day-to-day tasks.

You can hire a nanny to live with you full-time or come for a few hours a day. They can help with the laundry and household chores while you’re taking care of your baby.

Or they can help take care of your newborn when the little one arrives, allowing you to get some much needed sleep.

A few reputable choices for finding nannies in Bangkok are:

Kiidu’s prices range from 300 baht an hour to 15,000 baht a month for full-time, live in nannies.

Bangkok Nannies don’t list prices on their site. You have to fill in their contact form to get a quote.

Ayasan’s prices range from 4,000 baht for part-time nannies to 15,000 baht for full-time nannies.

It’s important to vet your nanny before hiring her. After all, she’ll be responsible for the health and safety of your newborn.

You can set up an interview with nannies from any three of the agencies above before hiring. You should do this in advance so you and your nanny are ready for the big day.

Monitoring the Important Stuff

The next nine months will be the craziest, most nerve-wracking time of your life—especially if this is your first child.

A pregnant woman holding ultrasound images across her bare, pregnant belly.
Ultrasounds are just one of many tests you’ll need when pregnant.

Doctors may want to test you, your partner, and your growing son or daughter a few times over the next nine months. Here are a few of the major tests.

Ultrasounds

In Thailand, doctors give expecting moms ultrasounds during every visit to the office. Each ultrasound tells the doctor something different about your baby’s progress. Here are a few major ultrasounds you’ll have.

First Trimester:

  • Predict due date by measuring heart rate and fetal length
  • Check for Down Syndrome
  • Check for Trisomy 18
  • Check for heart defects

Second Trimester:

  • Scan body and organs
  • Check baby’s sex

Third Trimester:

  • Check body and organ growth
  • Check for heart defects

Each case is different so you may or may not have these tests and others.

Down Syndrome

This is the first of two serious tests. The older the mother is, the greater the risk of the child being born with Down Syndrome. At age 35, chances are about 1 in 200 that your baby could be born with Down Syndrome.

Doctors consider the risk enough to do an amniocentesis test. During this test, doctors check your baby’s skin-fold at their neck to see if they might have Down Syndrome. Mothers may have to give blood as well.

Your Baby’s Heart

It’s not unusual for babies in the womb to have holes in their hearts during their growth. Our first daughter had a hole in her heart when she was in the womb.

If the doctor tells you about a hole in your baby’s heart, don’t panic. It usually closes up before you deliver the baby.

Just to be sure, though, your doctor checks your baby’s heart through regular ultrasounds.

Your Baby’s Anatomy

During the second trimester doctors do a full anatomy scan of your baby. Doctors check your baby’s limbs, toes, fingers, facial features, and internal organs to make sure they’re growing correctly.

Your Baby’s Sex

At the 20-week mark, you get to find out what you’re having. Now you can start thinking of your baby’s name and if you’re giving your baby a Thai nickname. Pancake, anyone?

Tests for Parents

Mothers and fathers aren’t free from tests. Doctors may test one or both parents for sexually transmitted diseases. And if your partner or you are Asian, doctors will test for Thalassemia.

A nurse drawing blood from a patient's arm.
Doctors may want to test both parents, especially for Thalassemia if one parent is Thai.

There are two types of Thalassemia: major and minor.

Thalassemia minor is when you are a carrier of the disease but show no symptoms. Thalassemia major is when you have symptoms of the disease, which can lead to anemia.

Thalassemia is most often found in people from Southeast Asia, as well as Italy.

Doctors test women for the disease during their pregnancy, or, if it’s a planned pregnancy, they test before conception.

If the mother is a carrier then doctors also test fathers. If both parents are Thalassemia carriers the baby might be at-risk for anemia.

Scheduling Your Delivery

After doctors finish testing you or your partner and your growing baby reaches the important milestones, you’re ready to schedule your child’s birth.

A woman writing in her scheduler.
In Thailand, doctors like to schedule births and they prefer C-sections over natural delivery.

You can deliver naturally and you can find doctors who’ll support your choice. But don’t be surprised if doctors try to sway you toward getting a C-section.

C-Section

You schedule the C-section in the last month of your pregnancy. Doctors use your due date and ultrasound measurements to see what week is best for your baby to enter the world.

My wife begged her doctor to let our second daughter come when the baby wanted to. But my wife’s doctor insisted she schedule the C-section.

My wife’s doctor said it would be easier and less risky for everyone. But it sounded to us like it was more convenient for the doctor.

In the end, though, our daughter came a week early so we still had the surprise factor.

Natural Delivery

If you plan on delivering your baby through natural childbirth, you won’t have to schedule anything.

You should ask your doctor if he or she will be the one delivering your baby. Bangkok is not an easy city to drive in.

If your baby decides to come out during rush hour your doctor might not reach you in time. Find out which doctor will help you in an emergency.

Packing Your Bag

As a general rule of thumb, have a hospital bag ready when you or your partner are pregnant. Even if you’ve scheduled the delivery, surprises happen.

A packed bag.
Make sure you pack a few things to remind you of home.

When my wife was pregnant with our second daughter, for weeks my wife kept telling me to pack a hospital bag. One Saturday it was too late and we had to rush to the hospital empty handed.

This wouldn’t have been too bad, except this wasn’t the first time I did this. When our first daughter was born I also neglected to pack a bag. When she came one month early, we also had to rush to the hospital empty handed.

If you have a car, keep your hospital bag in the car. If you’re going to take a taxi, keep the bag by your front door. Make sure the bag is light enough to throw in a taxi. This means packing just what you need.

Must-Haves

Make sure you have these things packed in your hospital bag. You can buy everything else at stores inside the hospital.

  • Insurance paperwork
  • Sweater (hospitals are cold)
  • Travel size toiletries
  • Contact lens solution
  • Cell phone and charger so you can video call your family back home
  • A few days of clean clothes for you and your partner

Optional

You’ll want to bring things that remind you of home—maybe a comfortable pillow or pajamas. Bring things to pass the time, too.

Remember, if you get a C-section that means you’re having major surgery, not just delivering a baby. You’ll spend a lot of time recovering in the hospital room.

You can bring:

  • Magazines
  • Music
  • Clothes for your baby

Hospitals give you a gift basket to welcome your baby into the world. You should have enough in the basket to get the baby home.

Things to Help Your Delivery

In America, hospitals have stabilization balls and other gear to help moms get comfortable and push the baby out.

You probably won’t find these things in delivery wards at Thai hospitals. So if you plan on using something to help you, make sure you bring it with you.

Are you planning on delivering your baby at a hospital on the other side of Bangkok? You might want to stay at a hotel close to that hospital for the last few days of your pregnancy.

If you start going into labor during rush hour and you’re far away, it may take you several hours to get to the hospital.

What to Expect on Delivery Day

Delivery day is nothing like you see in the movies. So if you’ve never had a kid before, forget everything you’ve ever thought about—and just go with the flow.

A newborn in a hospital crib with a name tag wrapped around its ankle.
Having a baby in Thailand can be a roller-coaster ride of emotions because everything is unfamiliar.

To lower stress, you should keep in mind this is Thailand and things work differently here. It doesn’t make things better or worse than the way they’re done in your home country. Just different.

Here’s what you can expect.

C-Section

If you’ve scheduled your C-section then delivery day won’t be a surprise. You’ll arrive at the hospital like you’re going in to get a tooth pulled—nervous, anxious, and a little uncertain about the whole thing.

The mother goes into the operating room with only the nurses and doctors. You can make plans at a private hospital for fathers to follow along. But dad usually waits outside for the good news.

In most cases the anesthesiologist will set spinal anesthesia which results in numbness for three to four hours.

Once doctors have delivered the baby, the father can go in a snap a picture with his new family. Then the nurses shuffle dad out and tell him to wait for the mother to recover. Or he’ll get to see the baby in the delivery ward.

The hospital lets the father go in and watch as the nurses clean up your baby, check his or her weight and vitals, and dress him or her up. This is also where you’ll get to hold your baby for the first time.

After the mother recovers she’s allowed to spend time with her new son or daughter.

Nurses bring the baby back and forth between the mother and the delivery ward for monitoring over the next few days. Once the nurses see your baby’s okay, the baby can sleep in the same room as the mother.

The mother also has a catheter in her bladder for a few days.

Natural Delivery

When you check into the hospital nurses assign you a delivery room.

If your contractions are far apart, you won’t have much help. But as they get closer nurses help you until it’s time for the doctor to deliver your baby.

The father can go in the room with the mother for natural childbirth. And some hospitals may let your children in the room.

You have choices for painless labor, in which epidural catheters are put in. Usually, the catheter is removed a day or two afterwards.

The recovery process for the mother isn’t so severe with natural childbirth. You get some initial bonding time with your baby before he or she is sent to the delivery ward.

Days After Delivery

The days after delivering the baby are foggy for the entire family. You won’t sleep because you’re excited about the new member of your family.

A mother holding her newborn in her arms.
In between resting, make sure to get in beneficial skin-to-skin time with your newborn.

And when you do sleep nurses barge in and throw the lights on and poke and prod you. But it’s all done with good intentions.

Nurses in Thailand go above and beyond. They spend extra time with you. They make sure you’re getting everything you need while recovering from the delivery.

But they also have to follow the guidelines of the hospital. So if you have any special needs for you or your baby, let the nurses know.

My wife decided to do exclusive breastfeeding with our daughter. She had to tell hospital staff so none of the nurses gave our daughter formula.

Whether you or your partner want to breastfeed or give formula or do a little of both, tell the nurses. They make a note of it on your baby’s crib.

Birth Certificates

If either you or your partner are a Thai citizen then your baby can get Thai citizenship. If neither parents are Thai citizens then your baby can’t get a Thai birth certificate.

There may be special cases in which your child can get Thai citizenship. If both parents have permanent residency in Thailand then the child can get Thai citizenship.

If in doubt, check with Thai Immigration. Immigration laws in Thailand change overnight.

Thai Birth Certificates

Hospitals can take care of processing your baby’s Thai birth certificate. We paid an extra 250 baht for Ramathibodi Hospital to process our daughter’s Thai birth certificate.

At Bumrungrad Hospital, Thai birth certificates are included with their childbirth packages.

With all the excitement going on it’s better to let hospital staff take care of birth certificates. Unless you want to take your newborn to the local district office and apply for a birth certificate—I think not.

Home Country Birth Certificates

If you’re not a Thai citizen you have to tell your home country about your baby’s birth. There’s no time limit, but the sooner the better.

You can start the process by visiting your home country’s embassy website. You can set up a date through their website. You can usually do the birth certificate and passport at the same time.

Make sure you ask what papers you need to get translated or bring with you and how much everything costs.

Here is a list of 128 foreign embassies and consulates in Thailand.

Paying for Delivery

When the doctor clears you and your newborn to leave the hospital, it’s time to pay for everything. You have two choices:

  • Paying out of pocket
  • Paying with insurance

Paying Out of Pocket

Whether you have no insurance or universal Thai healthcare, you have to pay for all hospital costs before you leave.

If you don’t have a credit card to pay for the costs, have cash on hand. You can only take out 20,000 baht from the ATM machine per day, in most cases.

If you know the delivery is going to cost more than that, start taking out money a few days before. Or go to a bank and take out your money from the teller.

Paying With Insurance

Insurance companies may ask you to pay for healthcare costs upfront. Then you have to send them the bill and they repay you.

Hospitals can bill some insurance companies if the companies work directly with the hospital.

Either way, be sure to get a list of every single thing done at the hospital and how much it costed.

Medicine

Private hospitals are in the healthcare business to make a profit. Yes, they help you and give you excellent care. But they also need to make money. It’s just the way it is.

Most private hospitals mark up the cost of medicine, sometimes by 400%. A private hospital in Bangna charged my wife and me 200 baht for medicines one time. We found out later we could’ve bought it for 50 baht from the pharmacy.

You have the right to decline buying medicine from any hospital. In this case, ask for the list of medicines you need and buy them at the pharmacy.

Public and premium clinics don’t usually mark up the cost of medicine. But it’s best to check.

Bringing Your Baby Home

Is this your first baby? Then you need a bunch of things like a car seat, chest carrier, a crib, high chair, clothes, and all the other basics.

A mother and father embracing each other and their newborn.
Once your baby is home the real fun begins, which is raising your son or daughter in Thailand.

Car seats and other safety devices are still luxuries in Thailand. But because Thailand’s roads are ranked the ninth most dangerous in the world I’d suggest you buy one—and use it.

Expect to pay a lot of money for a quality car seat. If you have family coming to Thailand to welcome your new baby into the family, buy a car seat online and ask your family to bring it with them.

To get all the basics for your newborn, go to Mega Bangna Mall. They have a bunch of baby and children’s stores that sell things for newborns such as:

If you’re looking for bigger furniture like cribs, dressers, or high chairs, Mega Bangna also has an IKEA.

You can buy baby bathtubs, sippy cups, plates, and baby utensils at Big C for a lot cheaper than the larger department stores. Big C also has a selection of children’s clothes. They’re not the best quality but they last long enough for a growing baby.

If you plan on using clothes as hand-me-downs for your next baby, you’re better off buying them at a department store like Robinson.

If you prefer to shop online for new and used baby items, Facebook has groups and pages such as:

For a larger selection check out:

Buying Health Insurance

Many insurance companies offer health insurance for newborns who are at least 15 days old or more.

In addition to normal protection provided in an adult plan, this baby insurance usually includes:

  • Vaccinations
  • Follow-up doctor appointments
  • Annual eye and hearing tests

You can find these plans on Mister Prakan.

Also, if you don’t already have it, this can be a good time to start looking for family health insurance.

Finding a Pediatrician

Finding a doctor for your baby is as important as finding a good Ob Gyn was for the mother.

Again, if you come from the West it helps to have a doctor who’s familiar with Western standards or at least knows the Western mindset.

If not, your doctor may grow impatient with the slew of questions you’re going to have as a new parent.

Even in some cases, Western-trained doctors may surprise you with what they say.

For example, when our second daughter was two years old, she was having trouble sleeping at night and she cried a lot. We took her to the doctor, an experienced, Western trained pediatrician.

The first thing the doctor said was, “Well, I don’t believe in ghosts or anything like that so we can rule that out.”

It was good to know that she wasn’t going to prescribe to my daughter an exorcist, but it got me thinking about how many lesser-trained doctors might believe in ghosts and overlook what’s really happening.

These private hospitals have western-trained pediatricians who understand the needs and concerns of Western parents.

To make sure your doctor is right for you, ask these important questions:

  • How long have you been practicing?
  • What is your childcare philosophy? For example, if I choose to breastfeed, will you support me?
  • Do you have children? This helps the doctor relate to your concerns.
  • How do you handle emergencies?
  • Is the waiting area clean and welcoming?
  • Is there a separate area for sick kids?
  • Does the hospital or doctor accept your health insurance?

You can add your own questions to this list as well.

Vaccines, Follow-Ups, and Checkups

Once you settle your baby into the world it’s time for their vaccines and follow-ups.

Vaccines

Thai doctors follow the standard vaccine schedule endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

But children in Thailand get vaccines children in the West don’t get. One is a vaccine for Japanese B Encephalitis.

If you’re concerned about any of the vaccines, ask the doctor to give you the name of the vaccine and the name of the company that makes it. You can then research the company online.

The major question you want to answer is: Is this vaccine new or has it been around a while? Avoid any vaccines without a proven track record for safety.

We’re not an anti-vaccine family, but we took a conservative approach and chose to spread out our daughters’ vaccines over time, when possible.

The cost to vaccinate your baby changes with each stage. For a single vaccine like Hepatitis at a private hospital, you pay around 1,000 baht.

For a combined vaccine like Infanrix, you can pay up to 3,000 baht.

At a public hospital or premium clinic the cost drops to around one-third of that price.

Over the course of four years you can expect to pay about 16,000 baht to 20,000 baht for all your child’s vaccines at a private hospital.

There is a cheaper solution, though.

One way to get cheaper vaccines is to buy a vaccine package from a hospital. Bangkok Hospital in Koh Samui, for example, has a vaccine package for 11,000 baht.

Follow-Ups

Your baby’s visits to the doctor’s office include height and weight checks. This is where Thailand and the West differ.

Average weights and heights in Thailand differ from average weights and heights in the West.

If your baby isn’t Thai, or is mixed Thai, check online with baby weights and averages from your home country as well.

A doctor in Thailand may tell you your baby is too big for his or her age. But in your home country your baby would be on target.

During follow-ups, doctors also make sure you baby hits his or her important milestones.

Postpartum Checkups

It’s important to make sure your baby is healthy. But it’s also important for the mother to go for a postpartum checkup.

During the exam your doctor makes sure that your body is healing properly, and they check that your uterus is returning to normal size.

They can also check that your C-section is healing properly and detect any other post-birth health problems.

The health checkup is important for both you and your child. The last thing any new mother wants to do is be away from their child.

You can get a postpartum health checkup at these private hospitals. They have short wait times. You’re in and out of there in no time.

Support Groups

Whether you’re a Thai or foreigner, it’s always good to connect with like-minded moms and dads to share experiences and find help with their challenges, like planning an education for your kid.

A group of ladies standing in line.
Connecting with like-minded moms can help ease your worries as a new mom.

Bangkok has many support groups, but two of the most popular for mothers are:

If you live in or near Chiang Mai, check out Le Leche League of Chiang Mai. They offer mother-to-mother support and meet regularly to talk all things motherhood.

For fathers, you also have quite a few choices. Check out these Facebook groups:

If you know of any more groups for moms and dads in Bangkok, let me know in the comment section.

Expat Birth Stories

Most of this guide is based on my wife’s experience with delivering our second daughter in Bangkok.

A mother and baby nose-to-nose.
Every mom in Thailand goes through similar situations, but all have unique stories.

But to get a better understanding of what other families go through when having a baby in Thailand, I looked around for what other moms went through.

Mitchelle

Mitchelle is a working expat who gave birth to two children at Hatyai Hospital. She wrote a practical guide on the procedures and documents for having a baby in Thailand.

She also covers other useful maternity tips and tricks, including giving medicine to your baby, registering your child, and more on her blog.

Dorrete

Dorrete is an expat from South Africa and has experience with giving birth in Thailand.

She tells her inspirational story of the day she delivered her baby, starting from the early morning of December 24th.

Because of the good care she received from an English speaking nurse and midwife, Dorrete had a change of mind about Thai hospitals.

Now, on to You

This article is based on the experiences my wife had when she delivered our daughter in Thailand.

It’s also based on the experiences of Thai and Western friends who’ve had kids in Thailand. Your experiences may differ.

If you’re pregnant or planning on getting pregnant, and you want to deliver in a hospital with modern equipment and highly-trained doctors, check out these private hospitals.

16 comments
  1. Hi beautiful article.I had my first preganany in thailand in and delivered baby in June 2019 but unfortunately turned to be Stillborn, I apparently had no complications and had a great care in the hospital with all normal tests. Unfortunately on my 38 week mark checkup doctor found out baby had no heartbeat.After all test result came as unknown case.Would be planning for my second pregnancy.Can you let me know an hospital who take care of High Risk Pregnancy with affordable rates.I have seen you have mentioned Ramathibodhi hospital.Can doctor & Nurses over there speak good english.Where is this hospital located.Any other good hospital you can recommend?

  2. This is a really great article – thank you for all the information. Do you know what the Thai recommendations are for pregnancy and Zika? As per U.K. guidance, they suggest avoiding pregnancy whilst in Thailand and the rearranging of any planned trip however my husband and I are planning on living on Thailand for a minimum of 2 years.
    Thank you, Jemma

  3. Hi very informative for the expats living here. We are expecting a baby so was interested to go to ramathibodi hospital special clinic. There are some complications present so could you please suggest the doctor experiences in high risk pregnancy. The writing is much appreciated. Thanks.

    1. Hi there. You can ask for ผศ.พญ.ชื่นกมล ชรากร (Doctor Chuengamon Charagorn) at Ramathibodi Premium Clinic. She deals with high-risk pregnancies.

  4. Hey John, so awesome that you’ve taken the time to put this together. Thank you! Are your recs for nanny agencies up to date? Which have you and your friends used personally for your kids? I’ve also come across one called PNA which seems well recommended.

    1. Hi Samantha. We’ve never used an agency. So I can’t recommend one personally. We usually hire someone to come in once in a while to help us out, but we’ve known her for a long time and met her through a friend. We plan on publishing an article on hiring nannies in early 2019 though 🙂

  5. Thank you so much for this incredibly useful article! I am living in Chiang Mai and 4 months pregnant so this will really come in handy. Do you happen to know how I can reach out to support groups in Chiang Mai?

    1. Glad you found this helpful! I’m not too familiar with the scene in Chiang Mai unfortunately. Have you tried reaching out in the Facebook groups mentioned in the article? I’d assume they can point you in the right direction with this.

  6. Great article John. I would just like to refer to the ‘C’ section. I have many friends with families in Thailand, and it seems like it or not their children were born by ‘C’ section even if their wife requested natural birth. My theory is this standard practice in Thailand, so the hospitals can keep within their schedules.

  7. Very informative article John.

    I have one question to ask which is, in your opinion, is it necessary to have a car if you have a child in Thailand? I feel taxis and other pubic transport aren’t suitable or practical.

    1. If one could afford, why not. If comfort is something the family values, why not. If it means keeping the kids healthy especially if there’s a history of asthma in the family, why not.

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