While pregnancy and childbirth is a universal experience, having a baby in another culture can be full of surprises. Just ask any foreign woman who has given birth in Japan.
Maternal and infant mortality rates are among the lowest in the world, making Japan one of the safest places to have a baby. However, some aspects of Japanese prenatal care may leave foreign women bemused, bewildered — or even belligerent.
The K-A International Mothers in Japan is an online community for foreign women raising children in this country. More than 130 women whose youngest child is under the age of 15 participated in an online survey for this article. Of these, half gave birth within the past three years. The majority of participants come from Western nations.