This week I had a birth at Seijo Kinoshita hospital in Setagaya ku, very close to Seijogakuenmae station on the Odakyu line.
It was another new hospital for me, so I was looking forward finding out how they looked after the labour and birth. The building itself is lovely. It’s very modern and apparently has won some kind of architectural award. Inside everything is very calming and quite plain – but really very nice, and there’s lot of green space, too. I think a lot of thought went in to making it a relaxing environment.
The labour itself was quite straightforward. Although the mother had to be induced (she was 41+4), it went smoothly – seaweed sticks followed by balloon to help dilation on day 1, then a prostaglandin drip on day 2. The mother was going to have the Oxytocin (pitocin) drip on day 3 but the prostaglandin drip seemed to be enough to get things started and she had her baby within 6 hours of starting that. She also wanted an epidural. This was an integral part to her birth plan, and the hospital actually does epidurals (I believe anytime around the clock) which is not so common in Japan. It was a “walking” epidural, though, so my client still had feeling – she just felt a lot more comfortable.
The midwives were lovely. The were really attentive (in part because it was a quiet day for them) and hands-on with comfort measures. They were also excited to have me there as a doula and I was made to feel very welcome. 2 of the midwives there could speak decent enough English (Mastuo san and Miyoshi san) and had a really gentle way with my client during her labour. Kinoshita sensei could also speak decent English and was able to communicate well enough with my clients about everything.
During the actual delivery, my client was encouraged to push how she felt she wanted to. Although eventually they did get her to move on to her back (that’s basically the case with almost all hospitals here). She really didn’t want an episiotomy and they were great with that (some hospitals here do them a lot, while others don’t). They said “Ok, that’s fine. We don’t think you’ll need one and we’ll do our best to make sure you don’t tear much”. As it was, she only had a very small tear and just a couple of stitches. I’m glad they respected her wishes on that encouraged her in a way to push that would let her perineum stretch gently.
I’d certainly be happy to recommend Seijo Kinoshita as a birthing hospital.