If you’re planning for a new addition to the family, here’s what you should know first.
Many expats are surprised to learn that their employer-provided insurance doesn’t cover “elective” care, which, in Singapore, refers to nearly all costs related to pregnancy and delivery.
The good news? You have choices! The most basic: Pay out of pocket with cash or credit cards. (Tip: Consider signing up for a card like the UOB One Card, which provides 5-percent cashback on a minimum spend of $2,000.) Or, plan ahead, and invest in “top up” personal or maternity insurance. Depending on the policy, it can cover routine pregnancy and delivery costs as well as those for complications. That said, you may need to be covered by the insurer for a set period of time before you’re eligible for its maternity coverage.
Medical hub Singapore fosters accomplished doctors and technological advancements at both its public and private hospitals. Deciding exactly where to give birth usually comes down to personal preference and, not surprisingly, location. Consider these basic prerequisites when selecting a hospital:
• What are the admission procedures like?
• Are there childbirth classes available?
• Do you like and trust your obstetrician? Ditto the nurses or midwives? Will they respect your birth plan?
• Will you be able to try for a VBAC (vaginal birth after Caesarean), if that’s a concern? A natural, drug-free birth, if preferred?
• Can a doula be in the delivery room, if you want that? (See box, next page.)
• Is there a Neonatal Intensive Care unit if your newborn requires it?
• Will there be a competent paediatrician to attend to the baby once it’s born?
Take advantage of hospital tours of maternity and labour wards – and do as many as you need to feel comfortable in your decision. (Tip: Register for tours as early as possible, as they can fill up, particularly at public hospitals.) This allows you to eyeball the facilities and gives you an insight on the range of services. Different hospitals have different diagnostic units and specialties, from high-risk obstetrics (at Singapore General Hospital) to STAN analysis, a unique foetal monitoring system (at National University Hospital).
Back in ancient Greece, “doula” simply referred to “a woman who serves.” Nowadays, a doula is a non-medical professional, trained to assist a woman before, during or after childbirth.
“Doulas support couples throughout their parenting journey, providing information about childbirth so that they can make healthy and informed choices,” explains Kong Choon Yen, a doula with ChildBirth Odyssey.
“Doulas are said to be an emotional ‘tranquiliser’, providing emotional and physical comfort during labour and birth – reducing the need for chemical drugs and achieving a ‘better’ birth experience.” But, Yen cautions, “We cannot guarantee the birth outcome.”
Other doula groups in SG include Doulas of Singapore, Four Trimesters and ParentLink. Depending on which doula you contract, as well as your personal preferences, you will likely have the following services: one or more prenatal home visits, support during labour (at home and at the hospital), support while delivering (at the hospital or at home) plus at least one postnatal visit at the hospital and one postnatal visit at home.
In general, you’ll pay upwards of $1,000 and, in some cases, closer to $2,000. Make sure to read any doula’s contract carefully to be comfortable with the terms.
From The Finder Kids Vol. 24, September 2018
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