SingaporeMotherhood | Pregnancy
The Cost of Having a Child in Singapore
You’re married and ready to hear the pitter-patter of little feet. Or perhaps you peed on a stick and a big fat positive appeared. Whether you’ve been putting away a little each month in preparation to start a family, or are celebrating a lucky strike, knowing what’s ahead – financially – can help.
Antenatal or prenatal care monitors the health of both mother-to-be and the growing baby inside of her. During each consultation, several areas are checked: the blood and sugar levels in your urine, your blood pressure, weight gain, and the heartbeat, position and size of the baby.
Pregnant mums also need to have their blood tested for anaemia, thalassaemia (a common genetic blood disorder in Singapore), blood grouping in the event that a blood transfusion is required, Hepatitis, Syphilis, Rubella antibody and the Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
If you are consulting an obstetrician, a package of 10 consultations from the 16th week onwards costs approximately $387 at a public hospital like the Singapore General Hospital. Costs are usually doubled at private clinics. These figures exclude prenatal tests, which cost between $75 and $172 each. Up to $450 of this expenditure can be claimed through Medisave.
Learning to Parent
All the maternity hospitals offer antenatal education programmes for parents-to-be. These weekly sessions, spread over six or eight weeks, will cover topics such as what to expect during pregnancy, what to prepare during each stage of it, and how to care for your newborn. You will also be taught postnatal exercises, get hands-on experience in bathing and diapering a (toy) baby, and go on a maternity tour of the hospital.
Hospitalisation during Delivery
Unless you are planning for a home birth, you will probably deliver your baby in a hospital. Mothers who have a normal delivery generally stay for two days, while those who have Caesarean section usually stay for five days. Additionals such as epidural, come at an extra cost. A normal delivery at KKH, in the lowest ward category, will set you back at least $984. The same stay at Mount Alvernia Hospital will cost from $1,370 while that at Gleneagles Hospital is $1,698.
Under the Medisave Maternity Package, you can claim $450 for each day spent in the hospital, plus an additional $450 and surgical withdrawal limit depending on the type of delivery procedure you undergo.
For most Asian mothers, the first month after delivery is spent in confinement. During this time, a host of rules and traditions are followed to ensure that the mother’s body recovers fully from childbirth.
It is common to engage a confinement nanny to help during this time. Costs for confinement nannies vary according to their experience and popularity, as well as the time period that she is required for. During the lunar new year, for instance, prices are increased one and a half times. Generally, during other months, the costs range between $2,000 and $3,000.
Postnatal Medical Care for Mum
During your postnatal check-up, your obstetrician will check to see if your wound has healed, and ask you about your wellbeing and how you are coping. If you are feeling stressed by the new experiences, let your doctor know.
Postpartum depression affects up to 15 per cent of women and in cases which last beyond a fortnight, professional advice should be sought.
Medical Care for Baby
In the meantime, the new baby has to be cared for. In Singapore, there are 10 compulsory vaccinations that children need to take.
All recommended immunisations under the National Childhood Immunisation Programme (NCIP) (except Hepatitis B and Pneumococcal) are free of charge at all polyclinics for children who are Singapore citizens.
The rest are offered at polyclinics at a more affordable rate than at a private paediatrician. Some hospitals and clinics offer vaccination packages. At the Raffles Hospital for example, the vaccination package for a child from birth to six months of age costs $920.20, including GST.
Baby’s First Month
For the Chinese, it is customary to celebrate baby’s first month by giving away red eggs and glutinous rice cakes known as ‘ang ku kueh’. First Month packages from local confectionaries start from as little as $5.90 for a box of two ang ku kuehs, two swiss rolls and 2 red eggs at a Sweetest Moments* All costs are accurate as of 2 November 2012.
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