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Sars and Giving Birth in HK - confused

  1. #1
    nataliel is offline Registered User
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    Sars and Giving Birth in HK - confused

    My baby is due at the beginning of January 04. My parents (both here and in Australia) are becoming increasingly concerned about the prospect of another SARS outbreak at the time of the birth (winter). Both sets of parents are "encouraging" and "advising" me to go to Australia to give birth.
    I am very reluctant to do this mainly because i do not want to take the risk of my husband not being there at the time of the birth, (and obviously he would not be able to stay with me and baby for the whole 4 weeks before i am able to fly back to HK.)

    I am planning to give birth at Matilda and am very satisfied with my medical care thus far in HK.

    This is my first baby.

    How does everyone else feel?

  2. #2
    simms is offline Registered User
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    I am also due at the beginning of Jan 04 (New Year's Day!)... I know what you mean, SARS is a bit of a concern.

    However, remember how hysterical the media was last time? No one knows is SARS is going to make a return this year, and if it does, more than likely it will be contained quickly, as everyone will be ready for it.

    Our plan is to stick around, but if there is a large outbreak, we will think very carefully about me going back to the UK. I agree, the prospect of going through the whole labour on my own is not appealing. I wonder if it would be possible to set up some kind of conference call to the delivery room at least?!!!

    I checked already and BA will let you fly up to 36 weeks, and I'm sure that my doctor would sign me fit to fly after that if he thought it appropriate and he didn't think I was going to drop any minute. We already talked about it, and he suggested that if we do go back, then DO NOT say that you have returned from HK. He had several pregnant mums who did that last time and were refused registration!

    I may be luckier than you in that there might be a possibility of my husband working in the UK office for a few weeks if I have to go back because of this. But then again, what happens after the birth? If it's bad enough to leave, I guess you won't want to come back with a new born, so does that mean an even longer separation?

    I think we all need to keep our fingers firmly crossed and hope that we saw the last of SARS already.

  3. #3
    aldougie is offline Registered User
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    I gave birth in HK during the last SARS outbreak. I was working and although my maternity leave was due to start in May I actually finished work in April as my company asked all pregnant women to stay at home and I stayed in HK for 2 reasons: (1) I had to as I wasn't officially on leave and (2) I wanted my husband to be with me so going home wasn't an option. The Matilda allowed you to have one visitor only and at first I thought it would be a bit miserable but infact it was great as it meant that I could rest up for when I came home.

    During the whole of my time off I still went out and about but didn't spend any time on public transport, in crowded lifts etc and was really anal about hygiene (more so than normal!) and everything was fine with me.

    The media coverage of SARs had a lot to answer for and created an impression which was totally OTT. In the UK one report focussed on women leaving with their children saying that it wasn't safe for them to stay which caused my mother and mother-in-law to panic. I would reassure your parents that it wasn't as bad as the press would have the rest of the world believe.

    Re. Sims comment I heard awful stories about people who left HK-children and adults being ostracised by friends and family and wouldn't be at all surprised if there were some problems registering during an outbreak.

  4. #4
    babyblue is offline Registered User
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    I also gave birth at Matilda at the end of March when the Amoy Garden outbreak first started. The press did have a lot to do with the panic because the only news they had at that time was either SARS or the Iraq War.

    I admit I was a bit afraid as hospitals has a very high cross infection risk but the Matilda did its best by limiting one visitor and no kids, Ob/Gyn appointments was moved to another building away from the Health Center, all staff and patients wearing masks, closing baby clinic etc ..

    It's a really hard decision - whether to possibly give birth and take care of a baby without your husband being there, or possibly being infected by SARS. The possibility of getting SARS is low, but if you want to be 100% sure, then you might feel safer in Australia (if the next outbreak does not hit Australia). If you look at it in the long term, taking care of a baby alone during the first few weeks/months may be better than getting SARS.

    Remember if there is another outbreak, everyone will be more prepared and people are still researching and studying this virus, so hopefully it will not be like the last time.

    You can always make the decision closer to your due date.

  5. #5
    JennyB is offline Registered User
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    I agree that the reaction to the SARS outbreak was a bit hysterical. I think that unless you were giving birth at the Prince of Wales hospital or lived in Amoy Gardens, Hong Kong in the last outbreak was probably one of the safest places in the world to give birth, due to the enhanced hygiene standards.

    Don't forget that other countries have dangers which are much lower in Hong Kong - such as crime, traffic accidents, dangerous insects or animals, other diseases, terrorism - which are not newsworthy because they have no novelty value or people don't like to talk about them. Yet such dangers should be borne in mind when you are considering the relative safety of other places versus Hong Kong.

  6. #6
    Joyce is offline Registered User
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    I chose to give birth at Queen Mary at the height of the SARS outbreak in May and I was extremely impressed by the care that I received. Hygiene standards were very strict, everyone had to wear masks and only fathers were allowed to visit for short periods of time. Unfortunately, it also meant at the time that fathers were not allowed to go to the delivery room (though now fathers are allowed in again). If anything, it was the safest time to give birth there.

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