Women’s health

Women will find that most of their health needs are covered in Cambodia.

Women will find that most of their health needs are covered in Cambodia. Tampons are available in the major cities, although finding them in the countryside is unlikely — most Cambodian women do not use them. Menstrual cups are not currently available.

Oral contraceptives are available in Cambodia, but often under different names than the ones at home. They will have the same formulas, but the brands can differ from country to country. The birth control pills available in Cambodia come from around the world, often Australia, France, Thailand, and the United States. It’s best to write down your specific brand’s dose of estrogen and/or progesterone, take it to U-Care or another good pharmacy, and find the equivalent.

Finding progesterone-only birth control pills in Cambodia can be a challenge. Currently the patch, ring, and diaphragm are not sold here.

The depo injection and implant are popular with Cambodian women and are easy to find, as are copper IUDs. At the time of writing there are no clinics offering hormonal IUDs, so expats must go to Thailand to get one.

Abortions have been legal in Cambodia since 1997 up until 12 weeks of pregnancy. After 12 weeks the law restricts abortions to certain situations. Currently abortions are not legal in Thailand except under certain circumstances, but legal up to 24 weeks in Singapore. However, Singapore does restrict abortions for non-residents.

Most expats who are starting a family choose to give birth in Thailand at Samitivej or Bumrungrad hospital, and usually spend the few weeks or months before and after there as well. However, as medical care in Cambodia steadily improves, many expats are choosing to give birth in the Phnom Penh. There are a few Western doulas, midwives, and obstetricians working in Cambodia who can help you through the entire process.

On the blog, we have a detailed blog post about how several expat mothers decided whether to give birth in Cambodia or to go abroad. Also,  Kampot expat Lindsay Oliver has written a very informative rundown of her experience having a baby in Thailand. Also, have a look at our guide to medical care in Phnom Penh.

This is an excerpt from Move to Cambodia: A guide to living and working in the Kingdom of Wonder. To learn more about 100+ topics that pertain to Cambodia expats, please consider buying the book.