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A Hong Kong one-stop shop for advice about pregnancy and childbirth

Learning you are pregnant brings joy but also many questions: public or private health care? What supplements should I take? Do I need genetic testing? Is it worth banking my cord blood? Who, why, how… it can all be overwhelming. An upcoming free public event seeks to answer all those questions and provide all the pregnancy-related information in one go.

The Hong Kong Maternity Conference, held on October 15 at JW Marriott Hotel Hong Kong in Admiralty, is the brainchild of Amelie Dionne-Charest, a Canadian lawyer who specialises in medical law and bioethics and a mother-of-two who moved to Hong Kong more than three years ago. She is also co-founder and chief executive of AD MediLink, a health insurance adviser that provides health care concierge services and organises health care events such as the maternity conference.

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“People considering pregnancy have one item at the top of their agenda: researching different health care providers to figure out which best fits their needs. This is particularly challenging in Hong Kong, where private health care is among the most expensive in the world. So many factors have to be taken into consideration: insurance costs, public or private options, obstetricians, paediatricians, hospitals, etc,” says Dionne-Charest.

“Finding that the questions most frequently asked by my clients relate to maternity, I decided to put together an event that is open to the public, bringing key maternity experts and providers together in one place for one day.”

Now in its second year, the conference has literally doubled in size, with visitor capacity raised from 200 to more than 400. Conference sessions – in particular on complementary medicine and postnatal topics – have also increased. Exhibitor numbers are up from 15 to 26, including service providers and maternity brands like Annerley Midwives Clinic, Matilda International Hospital, The Nanny Experts and Babyzen.

Among the experts speaking are Dr Patrick Chan on assisted conception and fertility treatments, Dr Alexander Doo (pre-implantation genetic screening and how it is improving IVF), Dr Edmund Hon (prenatal genetic screening and Zika), Hulda Thorey (how to have a good birth from a midwife’s perspective), Dr Michelle Tsui (pregnancy nutrition and supplements), Dr Lucy Lord (how to get the information you need to make the right decisions), and Shalini Mahtani (the differences between private and public health care).

“It is also important to note this is not just a ‘women’s event’,” says Dionne-Charest. “Last year, nearly half of our attendees were men and they asked a lot of questions during our conference sessions. And this year, we will even include a conference session just for the dads.”

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The event starts at 9.30am and ends at 4.30pm. The first 200 visitors will receive information packs and gift bags. Light snacks will be offered and there will be a raffle of maternity products.

For more information on the participating companies and speakers, see maternityconference.com. Pre-registration is required as space is limited – register on eventbrite.com (search for the maternity conference event).