• published on 1/9/2024
  • 10min

Five things you should know about maternity in Singapore

Are you pregnant or consider having a baby in Singapore? Discover five things that you need to know about maternity to help you enjoy your pregnancy peacefully in the city.

Five things you should know about maternity in Singapore

Where to give birth: Public VS Private Maternity

To begin with, you will have to make a choice between public and private sector. Singapore is known to possess one of the best healthcare systems of the world so in both cases, you will receive excellent care. But in order to make the right decision, make sure that you are aware of all the particularities of both sectors:

Advantages of the private sector:

  • Administration and waiting times are a lot shorter than in public hospitals. Doctors have fewer patients to handle so there is less time pressure and you will be able to spend more time with your obstetrician.

  • In addition, you will be able to choose the obstetrician / gynecologist who will follow-up your pregnancy and deliver your baby. In public hospitals, you don’t always have a choice.

  • If your health insurance covers your pregnancy fees, private hospitals will help you process the claims. In public facilities, patients have to handle all the paperwork themselves.

  • Hospital rooms are usually more comfortable and spacious. The surroundings are also more luxurious and you will be able to enjoy many additional services, from prenatal massages to reserved parking spots.

Advantages of the public sector:

  • The main advantage of public hospitals is the cost of pregnancy care. If you opt for the basics, your medical fees can be quite low. Note that if you are a Singaporean citizen, medical fees in public facilities will be even lower.

  • Some private facilities are not well-equipped to handle medical emergencies or complications. In such cases, patients from private hospitals are often transferred to public facilities. As a result, if you have a complicated pregnancy, public facilities are actually the best-equipped to handle your case.

  • C-section rates are lower in public hospitals, which is a good thing if you favor natural birth.

  • In the private sector, many doctors encourage women to conduct some additional examinations. This can be a good thing if you are in favor of a very close follow-up. However, the bill can mount up extremely fast and unless you have a complicated pregnancy, some of these examinations are not always compulsory.

In Singapore, both private and public sectors are great for different reasons. Simply try to define what your priorities are in order to make the right decision.

How to choose the right doctor

In Singapore, you will have the opportunity to choose between many highly qualified doctors. Don’t hesitate to meet with several doctors and ask them all the questions that you have in mind before making a decision. Depending on the kind of birth that you prefer (natural birth, C-section…), you can start by asking them about their statistics or how they routinely work. Do they have a more conservative or natural approach? You can also ask them about more specific details: do they work well with a midwife or a doula? How much will they assist during labour? Would they consider water birth?

If some of your friends or relatives experienced a pregnancy in Singapore, they may also be able to recommend their own practitioner. Finally, there are many forums dedicated to parents and mothers-to-be in Singapore, so don’t forget that you can always seek advice from people who had to make that choice before you. However, keep in mind that all women are different and while a doctor might be the perfect fit for someone, it might be completely different from you as you don’t always have the same expectations regarding your pregnancy.

Living your pregnancy in Singapore

Being pregnant away from home is not always a smooth experience, but luckily in Singapore, you can easily find some extra help. To begin with, it is very common in Singapore to use the services of a doula or a private midwife. A doula is a woman whose role is to provide you with support throughout your pregnancy, to help you prepare for your delivery or to answer any questions you have. In some hospitals, doulas can also be present during labour, which can represent great support and make this moment less stressful for you.

In addition to medical advice, it is also important for you to take some time to unwind during your pregnancy. For instance, many studios or private teachers in Singapore offer prenatal yoga classes, which can help you relax and feel less overwhelmed by your pregnancy. If you take part in a group class, you will also meet other pregnant women who you will be able to share your experience with. Prenatal massages can also be a great idea to help you get rid of your pregnancy aches and pains. Some masseurs can even give you some useful advice on daily exercises that you can do at home to prevent back or joint problems.

Your delivery

If you chose a delivery by cesarean, simply go to the hospital or the clinic on the day that has been planned. Nurses will take care of you as soon as you enter the hospital. The doctor will examine you before the operation. Your partner can stay with you all the time until the operation begins.

For a natural birth, call your doctor and go to the hospital as soon as you feel the first contractions. Note that you can ask for an epidural anesthesia at any time, but waiting times are usually longer in the public sector. Nurses will then take care of your newborn right after delivery under pediatrician supervision.

If there isn’t any complication, young mothers usually stay two to three days at the hospitals before going back home. As part of Asian traditions, they can be placed in confinement after they leave the hospital. Many families hire a confinement nanny, usually for a one-month period, to help taking care of the baby and assist in daily tasks such as cooking or cleaning. The aim of this period is to help the mother heal and recover from her pregnancy. While this tradition is deeply rooted into Asian culture, many expatriates in Singapore also look forward to adopting it by hiring some extra help for the family during this transition period. The costs of a confinement nanny will usually range from SG$2,000 to SG$4,000 depending on her popularity, her experience, the period of the year they are hired but also how far in advance they are booked.

The financial costs of giving birth

If you are considering having children in Singapore, you probably already know that the costs of a pregnancy can mount up fast.

The costs of a traditional delivery and a 2-3 days stay in a public hospital can vary widely: depending on the room type that you choose. For example, at KK Women's and Children's Hospital (KKH), one of the most popular public hospitals, the cost for a routine vaginal delivery plus a 2–3-day hospital stay in a shared C-class ward starts around SGD 6,700. Opting for greater privacy in a single-bed A-class ward raises the cost to SGD 9,200. A caesarean section ranges from SGD 11,000-13,000 depending on room type. These costs apply specifically to non-resident and foreign patients without government subsidies.

Comparatively, private facilities like Gleneagles and Mount Elizabeth Hospital have higher delivery and room charges, with luxury suites priced upwards of SGD 10,000. A C-section can go up to SGD 20,000 in these premium facilities.

But more importantly, if any complication arises during your delivery, such as if your newborn needs to spend time in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) or case of congenital defects, prices can skyrocket. Should the unexpected arise, hospital bills can quickly mount up to tens of thousands of dollars…

While public hospitals represent the most affordable option locally, even basic childbirth expenses for foreigners and visitors remain relatively high compared to the global average.

Having insurance coverage and financial plans in place can provide reassurance if the unexpected arises. Being informed on the full range of potential costs, from uncomplicated to complex births, allows families to anticipate and budget for a reasonable worst-case scenario.

How to cope with maternity costs

Singapore’s maternity care is one of the best in the world, but this usually comes with a high price. So, what solutions does APRIL offer you?

At APRIL, we offer different options tailored to your needs and budget.

1. Maternity package

We offer Maternity packages that will cover prenatal and post-natal services up to 45 days after birth. This ensures you receive the necessary medical attention throughout your maternity journey. The coverage includes diagnostic scans and tests, medicines and drugs, complementary medicine, licensed midwifery and certified doula services, and more.

For delivery, the costs for both elective and emergency C-sections are fully covered up to the overall maternity limit. This includes up to seven days of nursery care. For full information on our maternity benefits, please refer to MyHEALTH Singapore Benefits Schedule.

2. Comprehensive coverage under our Hospital & Surgery module

In Singapore, public hospitals are some of the top choices for maternity care. Some expectant mothers prefer not to purchase maternity health insurance, opting instead to pay the hospital fees themselves, which are more affordable in the public system. By purchasing our Hospital & Surgery Extensive module, expectant mothers will be covered for complications of pregnancy, which can be extremely costly in addition to the delivery, without purchasing any additional maternity packages. Their newborn can also be added to their plan from day 1. Neonatal disabilities, congenital conditions, and hereditary conditions will also be covered.

Whatever option you choose, make sure you purchase your insurance plan before getting pregnant as international health insurance plans usually require a waiting period, which may vary, to enjoy maternity benefits.   At APRIL, we offer a one-year waiting period for our maternity module and to add your newborn without underwriting.

To learn more about our solutions to cover your maternity fees, don’t hesitate to contact our advisors today.