Where to give birth, pregnancy classes and more
First things first: Congratulations! Singapore is one of the best cities in the world to have a baby.
Being a significant regional medical hub, the plethora of facilities available are more than impressive, and they range from modest to luxurious. Consider this your Singapore pregnancy guide, from pre- to post-natal care.
Where to go
Singapore’s hospitals are classified as either private or public (government-owned). Both types offer high-quality medical care and facilities, including prenatal checks and scans, with the difference usually being only in cost and related medical charges.
It is advisable to book a hospital tour and get a feel for the maternity ward and nursery – it makes your final choice a lot easier. Public hospitals tend to be the cheaper option and the more popular choices include Kandang Kerbau Women’s And Children’s Hospital (KKH), the National University Hospital (NUH) and Singapore General Hospital (SGH).
Picking a gynaecologist or obstetrician
There is no correct formula when it comes to choosing a gynae or obstetrician. It comes down to choosing someone you are totally comfortable with – for instance, do you want a male or female doctor?
Go onto forums ask about doctors – are you looking at someone who prefers a conservative or natural approach? Maybe you want someone who works well with a doula, or are considering a water birth? Always make sure your doctor takes the time to address your concerns patiently. Keep these in mind when doing your search.
However, make sure that you choose a doctor who is accredited and has ample experience, and who works at your preferred hospitals – most gynaes in Singapore tend to work only at certain hospitals.
Prenatal and delivery packages
Maternity packages at Singapore hospitals usually consist of paying for a prenatal package and a delivery package.
A prenatal package includes gynaecological services and the cost of ultrasound scans and other prenatal examinations.
Costs for maternity packages in private hospitals can range anywhere from $5,500 to $18,800 for a single room, and $4,000 to $7,500 for a four-bedded room. Packages in public hospitals usually range from $4,700 to $7,000 for a single bed package, and from $1,300 to $6,000 for a four-bedded room package.
A delivery package will vary based on the kind of ward you want (ranging from single, private rooms to four-bedded rooms), and cover your hospital stay, and usually the cost of the delivery itself, in the case of a normal vaginal delivery.
Caesarean deliveries naturally tend to be more expensive, as it requires a longer hospital stay plus extra costs for an anaesthetist. Private hospitals average out around $8,000 for a natural delivery and $12,000 for C-sections with an average three-day hospital stay. Public hospitals, while cheaper, still average out to about $6,000 for normal delivery.
Be insured in advance
Unfortunately, delivering a baby can get costly in Singapore, with so it’s important you plan in advance.
This includes checking with your insurance company to see what they will cover. There’s no maternity insurance here, so you have to make sure you purchase insurance that offers the benefits extension to cover the medical costs incurred during pregnancy. These include doctor and gynae visits, routine scans, delivery costs and your hospital stay.
Make sure you are also covered for instances of complications or premature birth. Many schemes impose waiting periods, so it’s important to know whether this waiting period is prior to conception or prior to claiming.
Also known as Lamaze classes, antenatal classes are designed to educate parents-to-be on how to prepare for labour, birth and early parenthood. Common topics include how to develop a birth plan, nutrition for mum and baby, breathing practice and stress management techniques during labour, methods of pain relief, preparation for delivery and even breastfeeding advice.
It is recommended to start attending antenatal classes between weeks 16 to 20 of your pregnancy. These classes are very popular in Singapore, so book your slot well in advance. Thomson Medical, Mount Elizabeth, Gleneagles, Mount Alvernia, Raffles Hospital, KKH, SGH and NUH all run classes; but there are also private classes available at mother and baby support specialists such as Four Trimesters, Parentlink and Mother & Child.
Besides opting for the usual natural vaginal or traditional hospital Caesarean deliveries, Singapore offers several other birthing options such as VBAC (vaginal birth after Caesarean), water births, home births and hypno birthing.
Most expat mums also prefer to engage a “doula” during the delivery period. A doula is a trained and experienced professional (typically a nurse or midwife) who provides continuous emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after birth.
Let your gynae know about your preferred birthing option as early as possible.
All births in Singapore must be registered at the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority of Singapore (ICA), or at one of the Birth Registration Centres (available in most hospitals) within 14 days from the baby’s date of birth. This is so that the newborn can be issued a birth certificate. (To find a complete list of venues for birth registration, visit the ICA webpage.)
Birth registration must be done by the parents of the newborn, or by a proxy (provided a letter of authorisation) on behalf of the parents. Documents required for the birth registration include a Notification of Live Birth form, which will be issued by the hospital or doctor delivering the baby, the passports and identity cards of both parents, the original marriage certificate, and valid entry permits for both parents.
You’ll then have to follow up with a visit to your respective high commissions to get your baby’s birth certificate and passport done. Note that unless one of the parents is a Singapore citizen, the newborn does not automatically become a Singapore citizen.
By Priyanka Elhence, last updated August 2019
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