Expecting a baby can be a beautiful experience, but it is also one that is peppered with anxiety. As an expectant mother eases into nesting, she can have a mountain of concerns running through her mind. One that usually demands attention is financial preparedness. Pregnancy and delivery in Singapore don’t come cheap. However, a woman can prepare for it and save herself from added stress once she learns about the help available to her and her baby.
The Harmful Effects of Financial Stress in Pregnancy
Worrying about finances and how they will be able to keep up with the changes to come not only bothers the mind, but also has detrimental effects on the baby. One study shows that women who feel anxious or stressed about finances during pregnancy have the tendency to have babies with low birth weight. Furthermore, babies who are underweight are more likely to need expensive intensive care during the first weeks and months of life. They also have an increased risk of developing chronic medical issues, respiratory and digestive problems, obesity and heart disease. This sheds light on the importance of financial preparedness to ensure that financial stress does not have a chance to interrupt the baby’s growth and development in the womb.
The Cost of Antenatal Visits
After a positive pregnancy test, you are advised to go for regular check-ups. Antenatal appointments are very important throughout your pregnancy because it helps you monitor your health and that of the baby. These check-ups usually start from the 6th-8th week of pregnancy.
It is advisable that you go for check-ups at least once a month. In the last trimester, these visits would have to increase to twice or more every month. During the entire pregnancy, you can expect to have at least 10 or more prenatal visits.
Each of these visits is a chance for you to discuss any concerns with your doctor. However, you might be concerned about how these appointments can get expensive. The costs of these antenatal visits vary from $500 – $800 at public hospitals for all 10 visits, to around S$140 – S$250 per visit at a private hospital, with the total cost roughly around S$1,800-S$2,500. If you include the cost of prescribed supplements or prenatal vitamins, these visits may cost you about S$500 to S$700 more.
In addition to these visits, you must also factor in the different tests to your list of expenses. These include the following:
- Scan during the initial visit to confirm the due date, whether a mother is carrying multiples (twins/triplets/quadruplets), if it is an ectopic pregnancy, and to check the baby’s heartbeat.
- Full blood count to check for anaemia (low blood count which can leave one tired and less able to cope physically if too much blood is lost during or after delivery)
- A urine test every visit to check for the presence of protein (an early sign of pre-eclampsia or a urinary tract infection) and urine sugar to screen for diabetes
- Blood screening to check for thalassaemia (a common genetic blood disorder in Singapore)
- Blood grouping in case a blood transfusion is required
- Hepatitis B and syphilis screening
- Rubella antibody screening (optional)
- HIV screening (if infection is present, this can have significant implications for your baby)
- Down syndrome screening
- First Trimester Pre-Eclampsia Screening (includes specific blood test for PIGF, blood pressure measurement, ultrasound examination) if there are signifcant risk factors
- Ultrasound scan (anomaly scan) at 20 weeks to check for major structural abnormalities
- Oral glucose tolerance test at 24-28 weeks to screen for gestational diabetes
- Lower vaginal swab around 36 weeks for Group B streptococcus screen
Doctors may suggest these screening or diagnostic exams, but some expectant mothers may not have to undergo all of them. However, a more extensive screening and monitoring is required for high risk pregnancies. After week 13 some private gynaecologists in Singapore offer prenatal packages which includes consultation, ultrasound, additional scans and tests. Sometimes, these may even include supplements. However, these packages usually do not include a screening test for Down syndrome in the baby which usually cost around S$300 – S$350 for a OSCAR first trimester screen to up to $1250 for a non invasive prenatal test (NIPT).
Each hospital offers different antenatal screening ultrasound packages grouped according to each trimester. You can check out Thomson Medical Centre’s package, here. Whether you choose to go to a private or public hospital, the expenses for some of the tests can be subsidised by the CPF (Central Provident Fund). Through the MediSave program, you get to save some of your budget for other needs. We will discuss more on these government subsidies below.
The Cost of Labour and Delivery
Your choice of hospital is an important decision when you are considering the cost. The total expenses will depend on whether you choose a private or a public institution. As expected, private hospitals will be costlier. In choosing one, you need to factor in the cost of the delivery room, the need for birthing assistance, or specific requests like a water birth. Furthermore, your choice of doctor will also significantly affect the total cost. It depends on whether that doctor practices in a private or public institution. Hospitals may show you labour and delivery packages, but these usually do not include the doctor’s professional fee.
Room rates vary for each institution and the cost also varies for each accommodation. At Thomson Medical Centre they offer the following:
- Premier Single – S$638.00 without GST (S$682.66 with GST)
- 1 Bedded Room – S$530.00 without GST (S$567.10 with GST)
- 2 Bedded Room – S$288.00 without GST (S$308.16 with GST)
- 4 Bedded Room – S$209.00 without GST (S$223.63 with GST)
The choice of hospitals will ultimately depend on the patient’s preference, budget and the level of comfort and privacy a woman wishes.
Call us today at +65 6254 2878 to book an appointment with Dr Pamela Tan.
The cost of a normal (vaginal) delivery ranges from S$840 to S$9,775 depending on the hospital and ward. The highest median cost is at S$9,775 at Gleneagles (Private), and the lowest is at S$840 at the National University Hospital (subsidized Ward C). If you have the extra cash to make your labour and delivery experience special, several hospitals in Singapore offer packages to let you do so in style. This could mean suite rooms, private nurse service, celebratory dinner or cocktails, and complimentary massages.
A caesarean delivery costs much more than a normal delivery because it is a surgical procedure, which means it will take longer to heal. Your hospital stay may be up to 3-4 days for further monitoring. The cost of a C-section in Singapore ranges from S$1,115 to $16,314 depending on the hospital and type of ward you choose. The highest median cost for a C-section is S$16,314 at Mt. Elizabeth Hospital (Private). The lowest median cost of a C-section is around $1,115 at the National University Hospital (subsidized Ward C). C-section deliveries with serious complications often range from S$1,491 to S$17,220. The Highest median cost is S$17,220 at Gleneagles Hospital (Private), while the lowest median cost is S$1,491 at the National University Hospital (Ward C). The total cost will also be affected based on your choice between an epidural or general anaesthesia. Some women may also opt to get a ligation along with a C-section.
In some cases, the baby may require a separate admission due to medical reasons. It could be due to a preterm birth or low birth weight. This will mean additional expenses, but you can claim a certain amount from MediSave to cover the cost. If the baby needs to be admitted in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit), the charges are linked to the category charges of the mother. For example, if you are admitted as a Class A mother for a private room, then your baby’s NICU stay will also be charged under class A. However, the quality of care for the babies in Singapore’s NICUs is the same, even if the cost varies significantly.
Maternity Insurance is an add-on to your basic health insurance policy that covers expenses related to childbirth. It is common practice for insurance companies to cover pre- and post-hospitalisation expenses along with the coverage for room and nursing charges. It often costs less for a woman to carry a separate policy from her husband or partner when it comes to maternity coverage add-ons. Prenatal insurance, on the other hand, offers a different kind of security for mothers who want to be fully prepared. It provides financial assistance for those who suffer from complications during pregnancy. It also includes coverage for newborns with congenital disorders.
An example of top Maternity Insurance Policies in Singapore include: OCBC MaxMaternity Care Pacific Prime Maternity Insurance AXA Mum’s Advantage Company insurance, especially comprehensive covers provided by some large multi-national companies under Bupa, CIgna or Now health etc, may provide for maternity benefits for employees or their spouses.
MediSave is Singapore’s national savings scheme which helps CPF members to put aside part of their income into their MediSave Accounts for future personal or their immediate family’s hospitalisation. Expectant mothers can also use it for pre-delivery and delivery expenses through the Maternity Package. The MediSave withdrawal limit for pre-delivery expenses have been doubled from S$450 to S$900 for mothers who have delivered on or after 24 March 2016. This can cover expenses for consultations, tests, ultrasound scans, and medications. For delivery expenses the claimable MediSave amount is between S$750 and S$2,150, depending on the type of delivery procedure. The MediSave limit for a normal vaginal delivery is $750 while a C-section is SS2,150 and a C-Section with ligation is S$2,600. For each hospital day you get to claim S$450 to cover the cost of accommodation.
MediSave can be used from the birth of your first child onwards. Both parents’ MediSave can be used for the fifth and subsequent childbirth; however, it is only applicable if the combined balance is at least S$15,000 at the time of the delivery. This is to make sure that you will still have enough funds for future hospitalisation needs, especially after retirement. In exceptional cases, the grandparent’s MediSave can be used too.
The Baby Bonus Cash Gift is cash that is given to parents of newborn babies. The amount they receive depends on the birth order of the child. The claimable amount has been enhanced. For the first and second child, it was previously S$6,000 for those born between 26 August 2012 and 31 December 2014 (for each child). It has been increased to $8,000 (inclusive of S$2,000 Baby Bonus Plus) for babies born on or after 1 January 2015 (for each child). For the third and fourth child, the claimable amount is S$10,000 under the Baby Bonus Plus Scheme. The 5th and subsequent children did not have any claimable amount in the previous arrangement, but with Baby Bonus Plus, they can now claim a total of S$10,000. Learn more about MediSave and the Baby Bonus scheme, and how you can claim it, here. There is a bevy of resources in Singapore that you can tap for financial assistance and preparedness. Dr. Pamela also offers a promotional upgrade from 4 bedded to 2 bedded room for some deliveries in Thomson Medical Center. Book a consultation today and prepare your body, your baby, and your wallet for D-Day!
Disclaimer: While all efforts are made to ensure that the information presented here are accurate at the time of publishing, we are not liable for any updates. The prices that are specified in this page are still subject to changes. It is advised to confirm with the primary sources.
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Dr Pamela Tan is a board certified obstetrician and gynecologist in Singapore. She finished her undergraduate studies at the National University of Singapore and earned her post-graduate degree at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in the UK. She is an accredited specialist by the Specialist Accreditation Board (Ministry of Health), and a fellow of the Academy of Medicine, Singapore. She subspecialises in colposcopy and is certified to perform Level 3 minimally invasive keyhole surgeries such as laparoscopic hysterectomy, myomectomy and cystectomy. Dr Pam also supports the natural birthing method and she strives to provide a personalised care and treatment for each patient.