Giving birth in Hong Kong: Matilda hospital.

My dear friend Mitra just had a little baby boy so I got to visit their new family at Matilda International Hospital on the Peak.

The hospital is so fancy–I’d never seen anything like it! I mean there was crown molding and real artwork on the walls.

And then there was little Asher! Isn’t he so sweet? Mitra was such a calm and happy new mom! She really appreciated being so well taken care of by the hospital staff, even while delivering during a typhoon 8!
Dad was doing okay, too… out on the private terrace with free wi-fi!

Can’t beat the view!

Or the slippers! They actually offered to bring me, the guest, fresh tea. Can you believe it?

Quite frankly the place looks and feels much more like a hotel than a hospital… in a good way. And the catering is in fact done by the Shangri-La hotel chain.

Even the doors and floors were pretty. I’m so thankful for such a great visit. I set a timer on my phone and stayed for just 20 minutes so as to give the new family some time to themselves. I’m glad I did set a timer (see this post) or I would have stayed and coohed over little Asher all day!

I’m sure you’re wondering what it costs to have a baby in a private hospital with a lobby, complete with a giant fish tank, like this! It’s somewhere between $100k – $150k Honkie, which is about $12,000 to $17,000US–and your insurance may or may not cover it.

If you can’t swing private health care, you’re in luck as the public health care is ridiculously affordable and very, very good. In fact, if your baby has issues while delivering at Matilda, you will be sent down to Queen Mary public hospital where they have a NICU and state of the art equipment, but alas no view.

Hong Kong’s public healthcare doesn’t even charge for delivering a baby: simply for staying overnight in the hospital which runs $100HK for the mother and $60 HK for the baby or about $20US per night for both. People often joke (but they’re also serious!) that the cost of parking is more than the cost of delivering!

Rooms at Matilda book very quickly… especially on certain dates… because doctors here are mostly against doing it naturally.

My friend Mitra is a champ for doing it all, drug free, but she is not the norm here where C-sections are more than routine… From the SCMP:

Four out of 10 women who give birth in Hong Kong now have Caesarean sections – a rate that is double the average for the developed world. In private hospitals, six out of 10 babies are born under the knife.

Hong Kong’s Caesarean rate has been on the rise in recent years, creeping up from 36 per cent in 2006 to 41.6 per cent in 2008. A WHO study in 2007 showed that the rate in developed countries was only 21.1 per cent.

The trend is causing particular alarm in private hospitals, where mothers can freely choose the way they give birth. In 2006, 59 per cent of 25,141 women in private care had Caesareans. This had jumped to 62 per cent in the first half of last year.

The main reason: wanting to be able to choose a lucky, feng-shui date for the birth of the child. Isn’t that just shocking? Especially considering all the other risks and the longer recovery time associated with a C-section.

I love all the history behind an establishment like Matilda. What a cool place for little Asher to have been born.

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12 responses to “Giving birth in Hong Kong: Matilda hospital.

  1. Congrats to Mitra!! Wonderful! Her baby is so darling!
    That room looks fantastic, and she is a trouper for having her baby naturally in a place where it’s not done, apparently! That’s hard…
    And yes, it’s shocking to read about the C-section rate. Pregnancy and childbirth shouldn’t be treated as a problem! I’m so happy that modern medicine can help out in an emergency, but otherwise — stay away!

  2. how fascinating – thanks for the tour.

    I was chagrined to realize that I visited my friend, a new mother, the other day saying I was going to stay for 20 minutes and I STAYED AN HOUR because I forgot to look at my phone. Embarrassing. Next time I will set an alarm – good tip.

  3. Natasha, I look forward to visiting you at the Matilda one day! The C-section rate is very scary here in Asia, as you know I’m a big natural birth advocate. If only I had more time, I’d be campaigning.

  4. natasha, that is amazing!! a far cry from any accommodations I had here when I gave birth. That balcony alone would’ve been heavenly!

  5. This is great! With 40% of HK children born on an auspicious date, we will have a very statistically valid measure of luck. 40 years from now we can measure incomes, wealth, divorce rates, fertility, education levels of the kids born Ceasarian vs general population. The world gets smarter every day…

  6. Love this post! I must say, the hospital where I gave birth is very, very nice but I’m afraid it’s nothing like Matilda! Also, I’m very impressed by your 20 min. timer. Next time I am going to put a hand-written note on the door with an occupancy max!!

  7. After working for 10 years in a very busy Australian private hospital (Operating Theatre), i could safely say i have seen hundreds of C-Sections. Woman choose them for various reasons, but the thing that everyone else needs to understand and respect is – its their choice, not yours. Having a baby naturally doesnt make you a better mum or person. And every woman is different, from the mothers size, babies head size, babes position etc… Tell me, when you go to the dentist and get a filling, do you hav the choice of a local?? If you choose not to take it are you a superhuman?? When will woman band together and just be supportive of each others decisions, and what best suits them. And sadly, yes i have seen a few babes lose their life in front of me because the mums were too stubborn about having an emergency c-section and refused until it was too late for these lost angels. Just think – if these procedures (pain relief, intervention, c-sections) caused long term damage – so you think they would be used? And just FYI – i am a mum, and done it naturally, but to anyone who doesnt want to experience the birth of their child in that way, thats their choice. Please, just respect others wishes and be supportive. If she has been educated on all options and still wants to do things her way, then thats her choice. The last thing any pregnant woman needs is to feel inadequate.

  8. OMG!!! what a lovely hospital. It makes me want to have another baby, but I will leave that to you, Tash. I can’t wait to get the call from Nick, so I can jump on a plane. Can’t wait to meet your little one!!!

  9. Hi – this is quite an old thread but I feel compelled to write in response to the poster who said she’d seen a few babies lost due a stubborn mother refusing a section until its too late.
    Well, as an experienced midwife, I would strongly refute this – it’s untrue and frightening. Plus, how dreadful for someone to “blame” a mother for the death of her child!
    If it’s a real emergency, women do not refuse a section, or it’s extremely rare – I have not seen it in thirty years of labour ward work!

    And sections, in my opinion, are fine, but not at the rate in HK! It is a major operation, which has considerable risks. Apart from the mum, the baby is disadvantaged too – if it’s a general anaesthetic for example, although it is less likely these days, but baby is really anaesthetised too and can be drowsy. Also, the amniotic fluid is not expelled from the lungs as effectively as in a vaginal birth and this can pose problems.
    So, I think it is not always thought through and done for the right reasons!

    Vaginal deliveries, at term are most definitely the way to go if possible, it does not matter a whit if it is drugfree or drugs – it matters that the women feels that she got the best outcome. And also, I feel that all women should be debriefed in the post natal period, if they wish, as routine. It’s important – my daughter still after a few years likes me to go through her labour with her.
    Wome are fantastic giving birth, there is no gold standard…

  10. could any one tell me if there are mothers groups in hong kong and specifically thai mothers
    thanks lisa

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  12. 42 years ago today, Sept 12, 1972, I gave birth to a wonderful baby boy , Andrew Mackie , at the Matilda War and Memorial Hospital. For two weeks, with Andy coning in and out – he stayed in the nursery – I had a plain, huge room to my self. . .a huge high ceiling soldiers’ ward. It gave on to a long balcony over looking Abedeen Harbor, green hills and the bays the South China Sea. On my daily walks on the balcony, absolutely inspired and refreshed by the scenic view, I met my only neighbor Anne . .she had just given birth the same day to her second child, Natasha. . .only 2 babies for the whole Maternity Ward. Anne and I got know each other well over tea and daily physical therapy exercises. For two years our families socializes and the children played together. We parents still correspond today. They in Melbourne and we in the suburbs of Boston. Our third wonderful child was born at Queen Mary Hospital and, yes, no view to speak of then but less expensive c 400 US dollars ( Andy had cost 1200 maybe the Matilda) I had great care there, too, and I was out of there in a day and a half . .crowded and noisy . .lots of babies being born there. I had switched hospitals to be sure I made it on time. The Queen Mary was just up from Bisney Road where we lived. . .5 minutes away from home. The Matilda was a half and hour or an hour away in traffic up the Peak. Ian, my second son, arrived in less than an hour .. I was so glad to have the Queen Mary just in striking distance. I was driven there in haste by my generous neighbor and friend, Lisa Cheung, who got me there fast. No time for the doctor to be present at he birth, but a competent nurse delivered Ian and all was well. Both were natural births . .my choice.

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