Having a Baby in Singapore DEC2019

Having a baby in Singapore: What do you need to know?

Do you have maternity insurance in Singapore?

Giving birth in Singapore is a wise choice. You will be having your baby in a world-class healthcare system and Singapore has the third-highest infant survival rate in the world. If you are an international living and working here without expat health insurance, this amazing care will come at a cost. Make sure that you have some pregnancy cover as part of your expat medical insurance while you are living here in Singapore.

Getting Expat Insurance maternity cover

As soon as you even think about having a baby, get expat health cover that includes pregnancy. You cannot get maternity insurance in Singapore with no waiting period and it is risky to have a baby without being covered. For most insurers, there is at least a 12 month waiting period until you can access the maternity benefits in your policy. The cost of pregnancy and birth can stack up quickly here, so having insurance for expats will be effective in keeping those down.

I don’t need maternity insurance for my pregnancy in Singapore.

Remember that maternity insurance does not just protect you. If your baby arrives early, or if there are complications, your insurance will cover the baby as well. Given that the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit costs start at $1000 a day, a comprehensive maternity plan is a good investment. If you would like some help checking your expat medical insurance policy to see if you are covered, let us know and we would be happy to help.

What happens when I have a baby in Singapore?

Now that you have your expat medical insurance, let’s run through how things are done here:

Choosing a doctor

Congratulations! You are pregnant! If you don’t already have a gynecologist, it’s time to get one – ideally one that’s an obstetrician. Some doctors are well known in the community for their expertise in a particular field like natural birth, fertility issues, IVF or surgery. Think about the kind of birth that you would like and ask around. If you have your heart set on a particular hospital, so do some research and find out who attends there. In both cases, you will need to get your GP to write you a referral before you can make an appointment.

Choosing a hospital

This may already be decided by your doctor. You may want to choose somewhere that is close to home or where your birth plan will be accommodated. Only a few hospitals in Singapore offer water birth suites, for example. If you are particular about how you would like to give birth, ask around and get some opinions. There is a large community online that will offer great advice and direction. Some maternity policies have a limit and if this is the case, maybe consider going to a government hospital like NUH if you are mindful about the cost of your delivery. If you’d like one of our expat insurance agents to check your limits, drop us a line and we can check for you.

Choosing a package

When your baby’s birth date has been determined (usually after 12 weeks), you will be given the offer of a package that you can pre-purchase which is great for paying in one lump sum. This package will include some of the pregnancy screenings and might give you the option for additional ones. It’s up to you how many scans you would like, but just make sure that you do the minimum required by your doctor.

You will also be given the package options for your birth. This will give you the choice of:

  • Room type
  • Epidural
  • Cesarean
  • Mid-wife lead (if applicable)
  • Water suite (if applicable)
  • Number of nights stay

Try to get a letter of guarantee from your insurer before you have the baby so you do not have to think about organising payment when you leave the hospital. Let us know if you would like some help with this.

Tests and screenings that may be in a package

Some of the important tests are:

  • 12-week scan and chromosomal (Nuchal) test.
  • 20-week foetal abnormality scan.
  • Glucose test for gestational diabetes around 28 weeks
  • You will need a whooping cough (pertussis) vaccination as well as a flu vaccination
  • 32-week scan
  • You will need to visit the doctor weekly from 36 weeks to check for pre-eclampsia.

On the day

Do your research beforehand and work out where you need to go if you are not already booked in. If there is any doubt, just go to the Emergency Department of your hospital and they will make sure that you are admitted to the delivery suite. If you have not booked in for an induction or cesarean, your doctor may not be there when the baby is born. You will be attended by whoever is there, but if this is an issue, speak to your doctor first.

In hospital

If everything goes according to plan and depending on the time your baby was born, you will need to stay in hospital for at least a night. If you have had a cesarean, you will need to stay at least two nights. This will vary depending on your recovery and how the baby is doing. Hospitals are very accommodating if you feel that you need to stay longer.

Afterwards

Your child will need a policy of their own from 30 – 90 days after they are born. Just call your health insurance broker to see how long your baby is covered under your policy until they have their own. This is what you will need to do:

  • Get their birth certificate by registering them at the ICA building in Lavender. You will have to physically go there with your baby.
  • Use the birth certificate to get your child’s passport.
  • Once you have that, go to the MOM to have your child’s dependency pass issued.
  • Then register your child under a health insurance policy of their own.

Just call the team at Expat Insurance if you have any questions or need any further help with any of this information.