What to Expect After Giving Birth in Korea

Familiy PhotoWe’d made it. We had our bundle of joy and were no longer the expectant couple. We were now a trio ready to face the world… well sort of.

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First we had to register our babe here and abroad. For this post I will talk about some of the things we experienced in the hospital and afterward that I feel is pertinent information to be aware of. Take into account that we are a multicultural family here in Korea, I, the American, and my husband, the Korean national.

Birth Certificates

Make sure to ask and get both the Korean birth certificate, which is standard, and the English copy and make sure that all names are correct. They had only put my first name into their system at the birthing center, common since putting my full name in Korean would be much longer than the 3 syllable names Koreans commonly have. They then put that two syllable name onto our Korean birth certificate which we didn’t notice until later. We had to go back and get a new one because our district office would not accept this as it was different than the name they had on file for me. Also, get two copies while you’re at the hospital. Unlike the States where we keep our original birth certificate and copies can be made if need be, in Korea, the district office will take your Korean birth certificate for their files and to put your child on to your Korean spouse’s, if you have one, family tree. If you will want your own copy, which I recommend as an American who has my own and this will be your only documentation with all three of your names on it, father, mother and child, then get multiple copies at the beginning so you won’t have to go back to the hospital. If you move abroad at some point, you’ll want to have your birth certificates handy. Also, if you’ll be getting dual citizenship you need to make sure the English copy is stamped and signed by the doctor when you go to the embassy to use it as proof.

Financial Assistance

As I mentioned before, there is plenty of financial assistance made available to couples moneythat are expecting and then have a child. A lot of this has to do with the low fertility rate in Korea and the government trying its best to help couples that have children so that a financial burden is no reason for a family not to have a child. After giving birth, the child must be registered at the district office and added to the Korean family tree. After registration, you are directed to another desk in order to fill out your bank information because you are now eligible for multiple assistance programs.

The first subsidy you are awarded is a one time ‘Congratulations you had a baby’ subsidy (출산축하금). The amount varies depending on how many children you have. Current amounts are:

  • (첫째아 10만원)For the first child the amount is W1oo,000
  • (둘째아 15만원) For the second child the amount is W150,000
  • (셋째아부터 30만원)For the third child or more, the amount is W300,000.

The second subsidy is a monthly payout from birth until the child enters school (가정양육수당 지원). This amount varies from city to city and district to district. The following information is current for Mapo-gu as of November 2014 when we registered. You can check this website for up to date information for your location.

  • 0-12 months = W394,000 per month
  • 12-24 months = W347,000 per month
  • 24-36 months = W286,000 per month
  • 36 months until the child enters school = W220,000

You should automatically be directed to apply for these subsidies when registering your child at your local district office but, if you aren’t, be sure to ask about them.


You can get vaccinations at your hospital or at your nearest community health center. There are currently 14 vaccinations that are given for free including tuberculosis, hepatitis B, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, rubella, rubeola, Japanese encephalitis, varicella, influenza, typhoid. Know that these are free. Not every hospital will offer them for free but your nearest community center will. Our birthing center wanted to charge W70,000 for tuberculosis and all of the rest of the vaccinations would be free so we went to the community center near our house for TB so we didn’t have to pay. Also be sure to ask how they administer the shots. You’ve probably seen the children that have the scars on their arms from their vaccinations being shot with a gun-like instrument. You don’t have to get that. There are other options. Most likely after the vaccination, the mother and child will be directed to a room so that the child can be calmed if need be and you can watch for any changes in personality. Note that the father is often not allowed in the rooms that they have available for this. They ushered me into such a room quickly and made my husband wait outside but not before I opened the door twice to figure out what I was supposed to be doing in there and they had him explain.

This is the third in a four part series on pregnancy related topics while in Korea. Be sure to read:

What to Expect When You’re Expecting in Korea, Pt. 1

What to Expect When You’re Expecting in Korea, Pt. 2

What to Expect When You’re in Labor in Korea

And if you plan on staying in a post-natal hotel, check out:

Secrets of the Korea Post-Natal Hotel, Pt. 1

Secrets of the Korean Post-Natal Hotel, Pt. 2

What To Expect After Giving Birth In Korea, Seoul, Korea: Birth certificates, financial assistance and support and vaccinations. How to in Korea after giving birth. Expats in Korea giving birth. Subsidies from the government for children in Korea.

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17 Responses

  1. annie lee says:


  2. Amande says:

    Congratulations you made it 🙂
    I am so happy for your guys and so excited for the big event to come in a few month…
    Thank you again for this very interesting post, it raised several questions on my side : if the child is not korean, is any of the “congratulations” money or monthly money available, or is this just really for korean children ?

    • Hallie says:

      I asked my husband this same question when I was writing this up and he was unsure but we came to the conclusion that foreign couples wouldn’t register their babies at the district office so they probably wouldn’t register for the subsidies that follow either. That is an assumption on our parts though. I know that foreign mothers are eligible for the W500,000 Beautiful Mom pre-natal card because of paying into the national insurance program. Click on the link above and if you have a Korean friend that can scour it for information to see about eligibility, that would be your best bet. I can ask my husband to check it more closely when he has some free time later.

      Congratulations to you too by the way. ^^

  3. Wow, after writing that piece on how the elderly barely get any support from the government it’s extremely interesting to read how they give money to new families. I’m not criticising and I’m happy you guys get money – you deserve it – but, how interesting.

    The family looks beautiful as always!

    • Hallie says:

      Thank you and I agree. It is clear where the priorities are and it is too bad they don’t think taking care of the elderly is just as, or more, important than trying to raise the fertility rate with financial support. The subsidies have been in place for a few years now and it doesnt even seem the programs are having the effect they hoped for but we certainly wont say no to the support.

  4. Kris says:


    Is it for all families, korean only or multicultural only?

    I feel bad for the elderly population. They had small families and put all their money toward one or two kids and drove up the prices of everything in the process, now they don’t have the family to support them or a retirement income high enough to make ends meet. They convinced everyone too well that one is enough. When everyone is spending 20% of the family income on one child in school why would they have two and have to divide that education budget between two kids? I think if they were able to convince everyone that a larger family or marriage at younger ages was a sign of status more people might have that second child. And jeonse needs to go away. A property owner basically borrows money to invest from a person who lives in their property for a brief time. Every few years people are moving or loaning them extra money to extend. And the occupant likely had to to take a loan out to loan the landlord money which they invest and keep the interest. Who can start life out a home debt of hundreds of thousands on a place they don’t even own? With people moving the highs and lows of the market matter too much. In the States if you live in the property over a period of time it doesn’t matter, only if you are buying and selling those highs and dips.

    • Hallie says:

      I believe it’s only for those families that will be registering their children on a Korean family register because they automatically have you fill out the forms after you’ve registered your child. That being said, it would be Korean and multicultural families with a Korean citizen in the family. Foreign families wouldn’t register their children in Korea, so they probably wouldn’t be able to get the subsidy. But that is just an educated guess. I didn’t ask.

  5. sabi says:

    Hey i would just like to ask
    In case you are married to korean guy do you have to sign up the child in his family registry? Ive heard there are many disadvantages if you get divorced later cuz of that…

    • Hallie says:

      If your child is going to be obtaining a Korean passport, then he/she would have to be on the family registry. I think in a divorce situation there are many disadvantages anyway regardless of being on a family registry.

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