It is always good for expectant mothers to learn about the necessary procedures and paperwork as well as available consultation services and financial aid before the baby arrives. Contact the municipal office in the ward (or city, town, or village) where you reside for details.
Pregnancy and childbirth
Expectant mothers are eligible for various support services given by the local government if they report their pregnancy upon learning of it to the local municipal office. Listed below are major items of paperwork related to pregnancy and childbirth that pregnant mothers may have access to.
Once you learn about your pregnancy, report it to the municipal office in the ward (or city, town or village) where you reside as soon as possible and receive a Mother and Child Health Handbook (boshi techo) along with a mother-child health information package. The package includes forms for prenatal checkups, a birth notification form, and information about available prenatal classes.
Mother and Child Health Handbook (boshi kenko techo)
Boshi kenko techo is a small notebook to keep a record of pregnancy/child-related facts, such as the mother's health, the progress of pregnancy and childbirth conditions, and also of the newborn child's condition until the child reaches school age, including the child's health, development and vaccination history. The boshi kenko techo is provided by a local municipal office to expecting mothers who submit a pregnancy report. Non-Japanese mothers may also purchase a bilingual boshi kenko techo published by the Mother Child Foundation for Health, which is available in nine languages (English, Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, Tagalog, Portuguese, Indonesian and Spanish).
Notification of birth
The notification of birth of your baby must be submitted to the municipal office in the ward (or city, town or village) where you reside within 14 days including the date of the child's birth. The notification is mandatory regardless of the nationality of the baby's parents. The birth notification form must be submitted to the municipal office of either the birthplace, your legal domicile or your present address.
The form must be accompanied with a birth certificate filled out and signed by the doctor, boshi kenko techo, and the personal seal of the form holder, which is either one of the baby's parents if they are married, or the mother if they are not.
An agent of the baby's parents may take the form to the local municipal office on his/her behalf. You need to choose the baby's name and submit it on the notification form. For the child's name, you may use hiragana, katakana, and/or kanji characters that are allowed to be used for children's names by the Ministry of Justice.
Birth report to public health center
In addition to the notification of birth to the municipal office, notify your local public health center of the birth of your baby. The form for the birth report is enclosed in the mother-child information package you received when you submitted your pregnancy report to the office. After receiving the report, the health center will send you the necessary health information about a home-visit consultation for a newborn baby, infant/toddler health checkups, required vaccinations and such.
Receiving prenatal checkups on a regular basis during your pregnancy is important. Part of the fees for the checkups may be covered by the local government. The amount of the public support varies by the ward (or city, town, village), so contact your local municipal office for details. Forms for prenatal checkups are included in the mother-child health package you received when you submitted your pregnancy report to the municipal office.
Financial aid for medical expenses
If any abnormality related to your pregnancy is found during your prenatal checkup, you may receive further examinations at designated medical institutes that are free of charge. If you suffer from symptoms such as hypertension in pregnancy, diabetes, anemia, pregnancy-related bleeding, and heart disease and are required to stay in hospital for necessary treatment, you may be eligible for financial aid under certain conditions.
Contact the municipal office in the ward (or city, town or village) where you reside or public health center for more details.
These websites are helpful when you have questions and concerns regarding pregnancy and delivery of baby and want to consult someone or find relevant information. Information about available financial aid and subsidies can also be found.
Various support systems are available from the government for expectant mothers to answer their questions and ease their anxiety about pregnancy and childbirth. Details of the service vary according to each local government and some communities may have also established their own unique programs. Contact the municipal office in the ward (or city, town or village) where you reside for more details.
Prenatal home-visit service
Local governments send public health nurses and certified midwives to the homes of expectant mothers to give advice and answer their questions about prenatal life.
Prenatal health guidance
Prenatal health guidance is provided to pregnant women with financial difficulties as an opportunity to receive the necessary health guidance by professionals at medical institutes. Recipients of social aid and households exempted from inhabitants' tax are eligible for this service.
Prenatal classes are offered by the local government to expectant mothers to provide information about pregnancy, childbirth and parenting. The classes also serve as a place to meet other pregnant mothers. Some communities may offer classes for fathers or for both fathers and mothers. You may find the class schedule in the mother-child health package. Contact the municipal office in the ward (or city, town or village) where you reside for details.
The following websites contain useful information about pregnancy and childbirth.
Financial aid and subsidies are available to support citizens for their costly pregnancy and delivery of baby.
Childbirth expenses support
If you have difficulties in paying for the costs of childbirth, your local government may help with part or all of such costs. Some communities may have designated childbirth facilities where you can have your baby delivered with no charge. Such support programs usually require the applicant's income to be lower than a certain limit. Contact the municipal welfare office in the ward (or city, town or village) where you reside for details.