If you’re a first-time mum like me, you know how life-changing it can all be. Not only do you have to deal with debilitating pregnancy symptoms, which creep up on you and turn your life upside down, you’re also faced with a mountain of things to do to prepare for the new arrival. Exciting as it may be to get everything ready to welcome your baby, it can also be overwhelming for moms who are clueless on where to start.
That’s where research comes in. Now, have you decided on which maternity hospital in Singapore to give birth in? Often, I find that we mums tend to focus more on a smooth pregnancy and babycare after birth. The birth process itself doesn’t get as much emphasis, perhaps because of the relative amount of time we spend on it (a matter of days).
Picking the right hospital is not only crucial; a well-selected choice contributes to the overall positive experience of your parenting journey. You see, each hospital is unique in terms of the facilities it offers as well as the suite of birthing options available, so depending on what your needs and preferences are, some hospitals are sure to be a better fit for you than others.
That’s why it’s worthwhile going on a hospital maternity tour to find out what each hospital offers before you make your choice. Apart from normal births and Caesarean births, does the hospital offer less mainstream options such as water births? Can you be sure that the hospital offers the best babycare for your newborn? Does it allow your hubby to lodge with you overnight? All in all, playing a proactive role in selecting the right hospital certainly empowers you as a big-bellied and breathless baby mama!
How to Choose
When it comes to choosing the hospital to welcome your baby in, some parents choose a gynae first, and go along with the hospital that the gynae delivers at.
Others do it the other way round. They pick the hospital they feel most comfortable giving birth in, and then find a gynae who delivers at their chosen hospital. My husband and I wanted to choose one that’s within our budget, as well as (mostly my idea) one that facilitates water births.
As a first-time mum, I had no idea at all which hospital I should go with. The Internet is a rich source of information, from hospital websites to forum advice from parents who’ve been around the block. Some hospitals even offer virtual tours of their maternity rooms!
However, nothing beats visiting the hospital in person to get a feel of the hospital environment. For example, is it well-maintained? How are the nurses? Do you like the atmosphere? All these are information you simply can’t get from behind the computer screen.
Join a Hospital Maternity Tour
Luckily, each of Singapore’s 10 maternity hospitals offers guided tours for parents-to-be. Going on a maternity tour is a great way to find out more about the hospital’s maternity facilities and services, such as lactation consultations, antenatal classes, and confinement menus. It’s also a good time to ask the professionals any burning questions you may have about birth, postnatal procedures, breastfeeding, and even pregnancy.
I’ve done the fieldwork for you by going on all 10 hospital maternity tours in Singapore. I will share my personal thoughts and insights with you, and I hope these will help you in making your decision!
Before I begin, here are some pointers:
• All 10 hospitals uphold high medical standards as to be expected in Singapore, so no concerns there.
• The hospital tours are free.
• It’s best to think about your criteria before assessing the hospitals, such as the kind of birth you want to go for and the room type you prefer. Knowing what you want will make the decision process easier.
For now, let’s take a look at Gleneagles and KK Women’s and Children’s hospitals.
6A Napier Road Singapore 258500 Tel: 6473 7222
I was 10 minutes late for the maternity tour (oops), but the information counter staff were very nice about it and handed me a goody bag which contained the booklets and information I would need. They then directed me to the Delivery Suite on Level 5 where the tour was being held.
The labour room is spick and span which (if you think of the fact that it’s a place that sees a lot of blood and the miracle of birth many times a day) is impressive housekeeping. While in the labour room, we had a “sister” or experienced nurse who told us about the birth procedure. This is the time for you to raise any big questions you have about the birth process, such as what goes on in the labour room, what pain relief methods the hospital offers and whether the husband can be with you in the labour room. Most of the hospitals will bring up the availability of water birth on its premises as well.
At any birthing hospital, the bed status is a concern for mothers-to-be. You don’t want to be waiting for a room when you’re already about to pop, neither do you want to be rushed to check out to clear a room for an incoming new mom. So check the number of beds the hospital has. Gleneagles has a single labour ward with nine labour rooms. There are eight single-bedded maternity rooms and eight two-bedded rooms, all of which provide a view of greenery from the hospital’s private garden. In addition to that, there are three Superior Rooms on Level 6, each the size of a two-bedded room, but with only one bed.
Surrounded by lush greenery, the maternity rooms offer a soothing environment for post-labour recuperation and quality bonding time with Baby. I give two thumbs up to the service at Gleneagles. The tour coordinator was friendly and attentive. At the end of the tour you get to enjoy light refreshments while the tour coordinator goes through the information booklet with you. I thoroughly enjoyed the tour and the opportunity to learn more about the hospital.
Cost of tour: Free
Cost of 1-BD normal delivery 2-day stay: $3,175 (excludes doctor’s fee)
100 Bukit Timah Road Singapore 229899 Tel: 6225 5554
KKH has a reputation that’s hard to beat. Specialising in healthcare for women and children, it not only boasts the largest neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) in Singapore, it also has an established history harking back to 1858. And with one in three children in Singapore delivered in this hospital, it’s no wonder KKH is often seen as the go-to hospital to give birth in.
For many mums in Singapore, KKH is certainly a sound choice as it offers a comprehensive menu of maternity facilities and services. This includes their O&G 24-hour women’s clinic (located at B1), which offers round-the-clock emergency care to women who are pregnant or who have gynecological concerns. KKH also beats the other hospitals with the highest number of delivery rooms (28)!
While KKH doesn’t offer water births, the hospital’s midwives and staff nurses trained in midwifery are trained to deliver babies independently. The impression I get is that every step is taken to ensure the patient gets the best level of healthcare available.
The Delivery Suite Lounge serves as a waiting area for loved ones of mothers in labour as only one partner is allowed to enter the delivery suite with the mother.Babies who don’t need medical attention get to room in with Mommy. So an empty nursery is a good thing as it means more healthy babies!The single-bedded room comes equipped with a sofa bed, safe, refrigerator and a closet for your belongings. Oh, and lodging is free!
While many moms have the perception that shared wards tend to be dark and cramped, I was pleasantly surprised to see how spacious the four-bedded wards at KKH are. The ample daylight streaming in from the wide windows adds to the airy feeling. That’s definitely a plus point as natural light is known to encourage wound healing and a positive mood in recuperating moms.
There are plenty of eating places, mostly in KKH Mall: Delifrance, McDonald’s and Kopitiam offer in-house dining, while the rest do takeaway (Prima Deli, Saybons French Food Factory, Mr Bean, Polar Puffs, Wang Toast Cafe, and Cheers).
The hospital is easily accessible by bus, and a short walking distance from Little India MRT station. Whole day parking is capped at $15 and valet service is free. Shuttle bus services are also provided so there’s no shortage of ways to get here and no excuses for your visitors!
Cost of tour: Free
Cost of 1-BD normal delivery 2-day stay: $4,695 (includes doctor’s fees)
In the meantime, see the rest of the hospital maternity tours here:
*Do note that these accounts are based on our writer’s personal experiences when she went on the hospitals’ maternity tours. Please get in touch with the hospital if you require further details and more information about its maternity services.
*All costs and information accurate as of October 2015. GST and service charges not included.