Having a baby can be both an exciting and terrifying experience. Exciting because you are now going to have a son or daughter to love and care for, and terrifying because you've heard all the horror stories from friends and family and wonder, is it really that hard? The simple answer to that is yes, it is hard. The good news, however, is that having a baby in Singapore means that you have access to some of the best medical treatment in the region, and the high standards of living in Singapore mean that your child will be born into a safe, friendly and secure environment.
The cost factor is important when planning for an event in Singapore and having a baby there can be very expensive indeed. With a special focus on the cost implications of pregnancy and birth in Singapore, we will compare the difference in cost between a number of public and private medical facilities, and the costs of specific pregnancy-related medical treatments and other additional services.
Prenatal care, sometimes referred to as antenatal care,refers to the numerous check-ups and scans the pregnant woman will require during pregnancy. These check-ups are necessary to ensure the pregnancy is developing as it should and that the baby is growing normally. Each medical examination or consultation will monitor the woman's blood pressure, sugar level, weight gain, and the position, size and heartbeat of the baby.
Every pregnant woman will require at least 10 such prenatal consultations and some medical facilities in Singapore will offer a discounted package of 10 consultations. At the public Singapore General Hospital, the cost of such a package is approximately S$387. At a private medical facility such as the Thomson Medical Centre or the Mount Elizabeth Hospital, costs are roughly twice that of a public facility. It is also important to note that some additional scans such as ultrasound are not included in these packages and they can typically cost up to S$170 per scan.
In conjunction with prenatal consultations, maternity hospitals also provide antenatal educational programmes. These programmes are usually held once a week for a total of eight weeks and they aim to give the parents an insight into how to manage the pregnancy and how to care for their baby once it is born. The antenatal education programme at the publicly run Kandang Kerbau Women and Children's Hospital (KKH) is roughly S$150, while a similar programme at the private Gleneagles Hospital can cost S$235.
For the actual delivery itself, the costs of the procedure will depend on the type of delivery required and how many days the woman and child will stay at the hospital. A standard natural delivery generally requires a two day stay, while a birth by Caesarean section can be as long as five days. One of the least expensive delivery packages is at the KKH which charges a minimum cost of S$983 for a normal delivery in the lowest ward category. In comparison, the cost price for a natural delivery at the privately run Mount Alvernia Hospital will start at S$1,370. It is important to note that these costs will increase quite quickly if complications should occur. Additional costs for services or treatments such as an epidural are charged separately and should also be taken into consideration.
If the woman chooses to have a delivery by Caesarean section, or if the medical team treating her decide that it is necessary, the costs will naturally increase quite significantly. Included in these costs are the additional fees for the medical team, the cost of the surgical procedure and other related and additional charges. Each hospital in Singapore suggests contacting them for a personalised quote on a delivery by Caesarean section.
Following the birth and once both mother and child have been released from hospital, according to Singapore law there are 10 compulsory vaccinations the baby is required to receive. These vaccinations are provided at no cost to Singaporean nationals, however foreign nationals are required to pay. The full course of vaccinations are available from each publicly run polyclinic at a reasonable cost, and they can also be received at Singapore's private medical facilities and range in price from S$800 to S$900.
It is tradition in Asia for the woman and newborn child to spend the first month at home in confinement to allow the woman to fully recover from the effects of pregnancy and childbirth. So-called confinement nannies can be hired to help the mother during this time and the nanny will primarily focus their attention on the child, allowing the mother to recuperate and rest. These nannies can be hired by the month and the typical cost to hire one for a four week period is between S$2000 and S$3000.
If we total up these individual costs we can see that it can be very expensive to have a baby in Singapore. Other costs such as maternity clothes, pregnancy medication and certain essential newborn baby items also need to be factored in to the overall cost. Should a couple decide to use one of Singapore's private hospitals for the full prenatal, delivery and postnatal treatment, the costs can quite easily amount to S$25,000. It is therefore prudent to explore maternity health insurance packages as they can help to make it more affordable to have a baby in Singapore.
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