When I first found out I was pregnant in Japan and going to be giving birth in Tokyo, it didn’t take long for Aiiku Hospital to come up on my radar. For Tokyo moms wishing to give birth with an English speaking OB and at a hospital that guarantees access to an epidural, Aiiku is pretty much the #1 place! I’ve noticed the vast majority (probably 90%) of moms-to-be in my pregnancy group are delivering there with one of two doctors, Dr. Sen or Dr. Sakamoto, so they must be doing something right over there!
Recently, I had the opportunity to take a tour of the hospital in English, an event that happens twice a month and can be scheduled through Aiiku Clinic. If you are working with Aiiku Clinic, make sure you ask about the tour ASAP as spaces for the English tour tend to fill up quickly!
In the tour, we were able to see the Labor and Delivery Rooms (3rd Floor) as well as the recovery rooms (7th and 8th Floors) and the 9th Floor restaurant and store. It was enough to give you a solid idea of what to expect on the big day!
A few photos of the outside…
Aiiku Hospital was built in 2015 and is therefore fairly new. The main entrance (shown below) has the brick arch way and some parking spaces. This is where you will arrive (in a taxi or in your car) during normal working hours.
If you need to go to the hospital after hours or on a holiday, then you will use the night entrance located to the left of the main entrance. A security guard will be working and can admit you any time. He will give you a pass to allow you to get to the labor and delivery floor where they will be expecting you.
Now let’s talk about the Labor and Delivery Rooms…
The LDR rooms are equipped with an adjustable birthing bed and various monitors for the doctors and midwives to use throughout your labor. The room also includes a fridge as you can see in the first photo, and a pull out couch that can convert to a (very small) bed if need be. There are several cupboards as well. I also noticed a small CD player, but I am not sure if you can connect an auxiliary chord to it so if you want music, you may want to bring your own portable player.
On the bed you’ll also notice some things folded up: a birthing gown, birthing underwear, and a towel are given to you when you are admitted. FYI the gown didn’t seem that comfortable to me so I might try to wear my own!
There are also two exercise balls and an active chair available for use during labor. You can bring these to your room (or ask the midwife to do it) and use them there. They are quite small balls though so if you are tall like me, you may want to bring your own!
Women are free to labor inside their room or walk the hall if they are not using an epidural. The women’s bathroom is located in the hall, and the men’s is outside the LDR floor. I was surprised there were no private bathrooms inside the LDR rooms but apparently it’s not as common in Japan as it is in the US. Aiiku also has a tub and shower on the LDR floor that women can use during labor. Although it is a shared space, I have been assured it is hardly ever used and will most likely be free if you ask. We will see if that is true! From what I’ve heard, having these amenities to help you during labor are uncommon in many Japanese hospitals so I am definitely going to attempt to use them!
Lastly, on the LDR floor there is a waiting room and vending machine for other family members. Only one family member can be in the room with the mother at a time, but it may be possible to switch in and out if you ask.
There are two floors of recovery rooms at Aiiku and they vary based on amenities and price. Families can choose the type of room they want after delivery depending on what is available at that particular time. Also, if your desired room is not available on the first night for example, you can move there if it opens up on subsequent nights. Here are the four types of rooms:
1st Tier: Shared Room – Free/Included in Normal Hospital Fee
The biggest positive of the shared room is the price, especially when you are staying at the hospital for 3-5 days! However, if you stay in this room you can only have your partner or family visit during designated visiting hours (1PM-8PM). Also, you will need to respect lights out times and quiet times at night. I think if you are not expecting many visitors and you are quite mobile after labor this might be a good choice to save some money!
2nd and 3rd Tier: Private Room w/o a Bathroom – 20,000 yen per night, and w/ a Bathroom – 35,000 yen per night
This portion of the private rooms is the same at both price points. Each room includes a bed, small couch that converts to a small bed, donut chair, refrigerator, and sink. However, the 35,000 yen room also includes a private bathroom with a toilet and shower.
There are a lot of positives to the private rooms in general. First, you and baby will have your own space to relax and recover. For me this is important because I think I would feel bad when my baby cries in the middle of the night and wakes everyone up in the shared room! If you choose the private room w/o a bathroom, your bathroom will be located outside in the hall. Your visitors will also be limited to visiting hours (1PM-8PM) as with the shared rooms. However, if you choose the room with a bathroom, your partner may be able to stay over night since there is a bathroom for them to use within your room. However, the only sleeping surface is the small pull-out couch which might not be the most comfortable. If you are concerned about your partner staying the night or you want them to have the freedom to be at the hospital outside of the normal visiting hours, then the private room with a bathroom for 35,000 yen per night might be a good choice for you.
Please keep in mind though, that this is a special circumstance for Dr. Sen and Dr. Sakamoto’s patients. Normally, partners cannot stay overnight in the 35,000 yen room. So make sure you verify that this circumstance applies to you before you go into labor, maybe at one of your third trimester appointments. Hospital policies can change quickly so you will want to know what to expect when you arrive at the hospital! You may also want to make Dr. Sen or Dr. Sakamoto aware of your plans for your partner to stay overnight so if the hospital calls them to verify, they will be on the same page as you.
4th Tier: Special Private Room – 70,000 yen per night
The room also features a kitchen area with a sink and large refrigerator. The bathroom has a sink and separate toilet and shower room.
The major benefit of this room is the space! It is significantly larger than the other private rooms which could be beneficial for families who have older children that they want to have visit so they have space to play without interrupting the other people in the hospital.
Restaurant and Hospital Store
The 9th floor at Aiiku Hospital features a restaurant and store where you can buy most things you may need for you or baby. I was warned however that the restaurant has limited hours so be sure to check them if you plan on eating there. Also, newborns are not allowed up to this floor so if you plan on going there you will need to leave the baby in the nursery.
A few more things…
If you arrive at the hospital and you want to reserve the room ahead of time, you may do so but the cost of the room will be incurred from that point. Also, no matter what time of day you are admitted to the hospital (or recovery area) you will be charged for a full day of using that room. Therefore, if you arrive at 11PM, you will be charged a full day for that hour of use. Something to be aware of so you aren’t confused when you get the bill. Lastly, although it wasn’t part of the tour, the NICU (Neoatal Intensive Care Unit) is located on the 5th floor of the hospital.
That’s it! If you have any questions please feel free to comment or send me an email. Thanks for reading and I hope this was helpful in some way!
For more information about Aiiku Hospital, please visit their website: http://www.aiiku.net/international/about.php