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Thai mothers caving to superstition or private hospital wishes when having babies

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Thai mothers caving to superstition or private hospital wishes when having babies | The Thaiger

by Kornwaree Panyasuppakun and Tim Newton

“Many babies in Thailand are born to suit ‘auspicious days’ or the Obstetrician’s golf plans.”

The expectant mother reported to the private hospital in Phuket where she and her husband had decided to have their first baby. When she walked in for her appointment with the Obstetrician the first question was when she wanted to make an appointment to have the baby. A bit taken aback she replied, “whenever the baby is ready”.

The English-speaking nurse chimed in explaining to her that ‘most babies’ at the hospital were born though caesarian section.

Being a first baby, and having read a lot in the lead up to the birth, she found the answer surprising, especially as the comment was delivered in such a matter-of-fact way.

She politely got up and walked out of the examination room and signed off her private health insurance for the visit. She and her husband then drove to a well-known local public hospital and made arrangements for a natural birth of their child about three weeks later.

We’re glad to report that mother, father and child are doing well, albeit with a few sleepless nights.

In another case an expecting Russian mother was ‘strongly urged’ to consider a Caesarian ‘for the health of her baby’ at another private hospital on the island. Again, she went to another hospital and had her baby naturally.

The Nation Weekend is reporting that Thailand has double the recommended rate of surgical births, and that could be a problem, say experts.

The reason for the high rate of ‘timed’ births is that mothers choose to go under the knife due to fear of labour pains, superstitious beliefs or to take advantage of the packages offered by private hospitals.

“In Thailand, 35 per cent of all babies are born by caesarean section, but the World Health Organisation puts the ideal rate at 10 to 15 per cent,” Professor Dr Pisake Lumbiganon, president of the Royal Thai College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said.

The high rate of C-sections in Thailand, he said, can be attributed to a lack of health literacy, as most women – including those working in healthcare – believe a C-section is safer and better than natural delivery. Also, Pisake said, going under the knife allows parents to manage their time and choose a lucky date of birth.

One mother, who asked not to be named, said she chose surgical birth due to fear of labour pains.

“After we made the decision, we went to a venerated abbot and had him pick a date. He chose a holiday, which was also very convenient for us,” she explained. Her son was born on December 5 – the birthday of late King Rama IX.

Likewise, Kedsanee, a nurse at Bangkok Hospital Pattaya, said she had given birth to a healthy boy via C-section.

“The obstetrician himself picked the date for me. It was the 6th day of the 6th month in year 61. He said number 6 was lucky,” she said. Her son was born on June 6, 2018 or 2561 BE (Buddhist Era).

The belief that a person’s birthday determines the course of their life is prevalent in Thai society, especially among well-to-do people and celebrities who can afford to cover the costs of a C-section.

Chompoo Araya Hargate, a top Thai celebrity, and her billionaire husband, for instance, had renowned feng shui master Grienggrai Boontaganon set the delivery date for her.

And she is not alone.

According to Chinese belief, as soon as sunlight touches a baby’s skin, the wheel of fortune is set in motion, Grienggrai told The Nation Weekend.

However, he said, it is difficult to come up with an auspicious date and time. “They comprise five elements – good health, prosperity, supportive relationship, parents’ prosperity and a smooth life – and there are very few dates that yield all of these.

“Many people are naturally born on fortunate dates and became millionaires. But natural birth is like a game of chance – if the baby is born on a bad date, they may encounter setbacks in life,” he said.

Famous fortune-teller Arunwich Wongjatupat said nine out of 10 parents look for dates that will yield either prosperity or leadership qualities for their soon-to-be-born child. According to Thai belief, the stars begin affecting our life as soon as the umbilical cord is cut, he explained.

Some “stars”, such as the Moon, can bestow charm and attractiveness, while some can make the parents prosperous.

“One thing that I find really repulsive is that lots of parents want their child to be born on a date that will help their business, even if the baby is not ready for delivery,” Arunwich said. “We need to put the health of the baby first.”

Thai mothers caving to superstition or private hospital wishes when having babies | News by The Thaiger

Doctors, meanwhile, are expressing concern that auspicious dates chosen by fortune-tellers are often too early for the baby.

A study published in the New England Report in 2009 looked at elective C-sections among mothers with a C-section history, and concluded surgery should be scheduled at week 39 at the earliest. The study found that babies born by C-section at week 37 are twice as likely to have breathing problems, low blood sugar and infection compared to those born in full term. Premature babies are also more likely to be admitted to the intensive care unit.

But factors that make caesarean sections so popular in Thailand are not limited to the parent or the fortune-teller. Doctors and hospitals also play a part. According to Nopadol, most doctors prefer caesarean surgery to natural delivery because “it is faster, more convenient, less tiring, and more profitable”. In natural delivery, doctors may have to stay overnight before the baby is delivered, but a C-section can be completed in 45 minutes, he said.

Pisake said that since seven out 10 babies are delivered by C-section, private hospitals can charge almost twice as much for caesareans instead of natural delivery. At Bumrungrad Hospital, one of the top private hospitals in Bangkok, parents pay as much as Bt136,000 for a C-section compared to Bt89,000 for natural delivery.

Read more about this topic at The Nation Weekend HERE.



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Phuket

Phuket faces critical water shortages if the monsoon doesn’t arrive soon

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Phuket faces critical water shortages if the monsoon doesn’t arrive soon | The Thaiger

Phuket is now, officially, experiencing water shortages, with water in the province’s three catchments just enough for the supply of tap water until May and the condition is expected to get worse if the annual monsoon doesn’t kick in soon. The annual south-west monsoon usually starts dragging in moist air and the ‘wet season’ sometime around Songkran each year.

Mr Kraison Mahamad, manager of the Phuket-based provincial waterworks authority (PWA), admits that tap water production would be affected if there is no heavy rain as water in Bang Naeo Dam, Klong Katha and Bang Wad would be enough for use until May at the latest, adding that his office had been told by irrigation officials to limit supply to prolong the supply of tap water to consumers on the tourist island.

As a contingency plan to ease water shortage problems, he said his office had contacted several independent suppliers for water supply, but also suggested that consumers should use water sparingly as well.

Phuket city mayor, Ms Somjai Suwansuppana, says that the municipal has been providing free water to about 18,000 households each day, with 70% of the water accessed locally and the rest bought in from private suppliers.

She said the municipal had contingency plans in place in case there are no rains next month by buying more water from water suppliers to meet consumption needs, adding that there will be sufficient water to meet the need of all the households if they use the water economically.

Ms Somjai says, for long-term measures, the municipal administration is mulling water salination projects or recycling of used water (like Singapore) which may not be acceptable now but may be unavoidable in the future if water shortage problems turns critical due to city expansion and increased population.

Mr Kongsak Khoopongsakorn, president of Southern Thai Hotels Association, said that hotels are hard hit by the water shortage problem and many of them have resorted to independent suppliers for water supplies to make sure there is water for guests even though the water fee is expensive at between 100-120 baht per cubic metre (The Thaiger has had reports of some people being charged up to 400 baht per cubic metre).

He admits that it is beyond the capability of hotels to secure huge raw water sources for water production, adding that the state should step in for help for sustainable tourism growth in the province.

Over the past months hundreds of residents had taken to social media complaining that their water supply had been randomly cut off or severely reduced, without notice. Some residents have had no water supply for over a month.

The PWA announced odd/even water restrictions on February 2 only to cancel them the following day on the recommendation of the Irrigation Department that there was adequate supplies of water on the island.

SOURCE: Thai PBS

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Phuket

Soldier attacked and killed by her husband over alleged affair in Rawai

Kritsada Mueanhawong

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Soldier attacked and killed by her husband over alleged affair in Rawai | The Thaiger

A female soldier has been attacked and killed by her soldier husband over an alleged sexual affair in Rawai today.

The Chalong Police were notified of the incident at 8.30am this morning at a hotel on Patak Road in Rawai.

Police arrived at the room to find the 39 year old woman, Ratchadaphon Mongkonrung, a Squadron Leader with the Thai air force. She was unconscious when police arrived and rushed to to Vachira Phuket Hospital where she was pronounced dead upon arrival.

A 40 year old man from the air force (Master Sergeant), the husband of the woman, was waiting for police at the scene. He was taken to the Chalong Police Station.

Police say they checked with the hotel and found that they had been arguing as Nop-anan thought that his wife was having an affair with another man. He kicked her with his feet before calling for help.

The were married and had two children. Nop-anan is facing charges of attacking and killing another person.

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Phuket

Phuket’s water supply in a critical situation

Kritsada Mueanhawong

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Phuket’s water supply in a critical situation | The Thaiger

Phuket’s water lords are now admitting the island’s water situation is in a critical situation – a situation they have had the power to avert but have chosen instead to ‘hope’ for monsoonal rains and go in search of alternative water sources to top up the dwindling catchment resources.

Phuket is now in the throws of a water shortage. The PWA says the water supply in Bang Ward Dam is only enough for the end of next month if no rain arrives.

The Phuket Water Work Authority manager Kraisorn Mahamat says, “The water in Bang Wad Dam (Kathu) is only enough up to the end of next month if there is no rain, while the other two reservoirs are enough until the rain comes.

Meanwhile some residents around the island have randomly had their water supply wither cut off completely or reduced to an useable trickle. Many are being forced to buy water from private water services. The sight of water trucks driving around the island’s roads has become common over the past month.

Phuket Irrigation says that authorities will now have to decrease the water supplies for residents to ensure that there is enough water until the end of this dry season. The issue of Phuket’s water management has become a hot topic on social media as residents and business question the management of the island’s water resources.

“We are solving the problem by buying water supplies from the private sector. We hope that we can handle the situation during this drought. Residents must help us to save water too.”

“Hope”. Yes, we checked. He said ‘hope’.

The Phuket City Mayor Somjai Suwansuppana says, “In the future we might have a project that can change sea water into freshwater or change wastewater into clean water if these water shortages continue.”

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