By Fitri Handa Yani, 11 May 2018
Raising a baby, especially in Singapore, is not an easy feat. From the time you decide to have a baby, you need to be prepared to spend (a bomb) as the cost of bringing a life to the world is not cheap. In fact, it can be expensive if you have not taken the following factors into consideration.
Prenatal check-ups, delivery cost and hospitalisation fees add up to a substantial amount. In this article, we uncover the actual cost of delivery in Singapore and how you can better manage your delivery finances to have a stress-free pregnancy.
1. Cost of Delivery
The cost of prenatal check-ups varies between private and public hospitals. Audrey Gwee, mother of one, recalled, “I was actively checking and comparing maternity packages to find the best deal during my pregnancy. In my 20 weeks or so, my gynaecologist introduced me some packages which were quite worthwhile and I decided to go with her recommended option.”
Usually starting from the 16th week, it is advisable for expectant women to go for check-ups at least once a month. In your last semester, visitation to your gynaecologist need to be done twice or more a month. After your first semester, many clinics and hospitals will offer a prenatal package that encompasses ultrasounds, supplements, additional scans and tests. This package usually does not include screening to test for Down syndrome in your baby which costs about S$300-S$350. A public hospital such as National University Hospital (NUH) has an antenatal package that costs around S$850 while a private gynaecologist can offer a prenatal package that costs up to S$1500.
|Public Hospital||Private Hospital||Additional Screenings|
When it comes to delivery, the fees vary as the process is determined by several factors – the delivery procedure (Vaginal or Caesarean), the length of stay and the type of ward.
Most of the time, the procedure of delivery is not by choice. Pamela Lau, 26, commented, “As my baby was not at an ideal position (feet-first rather than head-first) for vaginal delivery, my doctor advised me to opt for Caesarean when it was near my delivery date.” Though choosing natural birth is a cheaper option, not all women are able to deliver naturally and must undergo the Caesarean process. Knowing the delivery various procedures early will help you to save cost.
Normal Delivery in Public Versus Private Hospital
There is a stark cost difference between public and private hospitals. In government hospitals, the average bill adds up to around S$5000 for ward A. In private hospitals, the average cost adds up to S$8500 for a 1 bedded ward. The choice of hospitals and wards depends on your preference and budget. If you decide to save cost on delivery, opting for Ward B2 in public hospitals can lower your bill size to less than S$2000. “Even though the service at the government hospital can be slower than private hospital, I still had a wonderful experience in NUH! It all depends on the level of comfort and privacy you wish to have.” Audrey concluded.
Caesarean in Public Versus Private Hospital
Caesarean delivery will cost much more than normal delivery because it is a serious surgical procedure and you may take a longer time to heal. Typically, you must stay in the ward up to 3 to 4 days after a Caesarean procedure for further check-ups.
Unlike normal delivery, the bill of a Caesarean delivery appears to be noticeably larger among the private hospitals with the average bill at Gleneagles to be around S$5000 more than Thomson Medical Centre.
2. How to Manage Cost of Pregnancy
Fortunately, the Singapore government has provided pregnant women with a Medisave Maternity Package (MMP) under Marriage and Parenthood Scheme to subsidise their delivery cost and help them better manage their finances.
With the Medisave Maternity Package (MMP), parents can use their Medisave for delivery expenses, as well as pre-delivery medical expenses such as consultations and ultrasound. Under the MMP, you may withdraw up to $450 for each day in the hospital, plus $900 for pre-delivery medical expenses and an additional surgical withdrawal limit between $750 and $2,150 depending on the type of delivery procedure.
Insurance Coverage for yourself
Getting a maternity insurance that provide comprehensive coverage can help you save on your maternity expenses. Maternity 360 which covers hospital care benefits for both mother and child, as well as pregnancy complications and congenital illnesses benefits can serve as an add-on to your Medisave Maternity Package to address extra medical costs. Making sure that you and your child are well covered ensure you peace of mind during pregnancy.
Insurance Coverage for your child
Health insurance is one of the first insurance you would get for your child to insure against hospitalisation costs. If your child is born between 1 January 2016 and 31 December 2019, Income is offering you 1-year complimentary Enhanced IncomeShield (Health Insurance) premium as part of the NTUC Good Start Bundle ^. This will hopefully help you to save some money in the first year, so that you can cater for other aspects such as baby’s necessities.
The preparation for baby arrival does not come cheap too. You need to consider your baby’s daily needs – toiletries, milk and clothing. To reduce the amount spent on these items, first time mum, Wina, 28, recounted, “I went to a lot of baby fairs to compare prices and take some diapers and toiletries samples to let my baby try before purchasing. This keeps you from buying items that are not suitable for your child and save you some cost.” Audrey continued, “As a non-fussy mum, I welcome hand- me-down clothes as babies grow so fast! It definitely reduces my expenses.”
There are a lot of things to consider and prepare during pregnancy. Raising a child is for life and having good financial planning will make the journey more enjoyable.
^ The complimentary Enhanced IncomeShield for your baby is brought to you by NTUC Good Start Bundle, in conjunction with PA’s Embracing PArenthood movement.