Having a child comes with a big responsibility, both in terms of time required and financial resources. The financial cost of raising a child starts even before a child is born. In Singapore, the cost of delivering a baby can be quite expensive especially if you opt for a private doctor.
In this article, we will discuss the cost of delivering a baby in Singapore. We will look at a few key cost components, including prenatal check-ups, doctor fees for delivery, and hospital costs.
We will also provide a guide on how much you can expect to claim from your Medisave Account.
- Prenatal check-ups
- Normal Vaginal Delivery Of Baby
- Delivery By Caesarean
- Medisave Maternity Package (MMP) – Using Medisave For Childbirth
Prenatal Check-ups – An Appetiser To A Lifetime Of Financial Burden Commitment
First and foremost, we want to say congratulations! If you and your spouse have been trying for a baby, seeing those two faint lines across the pregnancy test kit will be one of the best feelings you ever have in life. Take some time to enjoy the moment.
Once you are done with that, it’s time to plan ahead. If this is your first baby, you may be lost on what needs to be done. Here’s what you need to know.
The first trimester is considered the riskiest for babies, and unfortunately, miscarriages do happen. At this point, there isn’t really much you (or your doctor) can do aside from taking care of mother’s health and generally not stressing any more than you need to about it. Take care of yourself and let the baby take care of itself.
Depending on when you find out that you are pregnant and the appointment dates you arrange, you probably have enough time for just 1-2 check-ups during the first trimester. If your first check-up is before week 8, there is a good chance the ultrasound may not detect any heartbeat yet. Don’t worry about that.
If you are making an appointment with a private gynaecologist, expect to pay about $150 to $250 per visit, excluding the additional cost of buying supplements. If you include supplements, the first two visits may cost you about $500 to $700.
If you go to public hospitals, the cost would be much cheaper since this would usually be subsidised if you are a Singapore citizen.
If this is your first pregnancy, go ahead and get whatever supplements as prescribed by your gynaecologist. This allows you to know what it is that you are buying. Subsequently, you can find the same supplements or those offered by other brands from outside pharmacies at a lower cost without being worried that you may buy the wrong stuff.
Second & Third Trimester
After week 13, most private gynaecologists will offer what is called a prenatal package. What that means is instead of paying a consultancy fee during each visit, you pay a lump sum fee instead that would cover the cost of all subsequent visits within the package.
Package fees and coverage differ depending on the gynaecologist you use. On average, you can expect to pay between $1,500 to $2,000 for the package.
Of course, you can opt to pay a per-visit rate if you prefer, or are unsure if you may still want to use a different gynaecologist. To convince you to buy the package and stick with them, most gynaecologists will price the package such that it makes more financial sense to opt for the package.
Opt for the package if you are intending to stick to your current gynaecologist.
Some packages may include supplements; others would exclude them. If your package does not include supplements, you may want to budget a few hundred dollars extra if you are intending to purchase them from the gynaecologist. This would be a more convenient option.
Otherwise, you can also save some money by buying the supplements from an external pharmacy if it’s not too much trouble.
A rough estimate for prenatal check-ups at private gynaecologist will cost you about $2,000 to $2,500.
If you opt for check-ups at public hospitals, the total cost will be about $500.
This does not include external tests that you may opt for such as the Down Syndrome test, which you may or may not want to opt for.
Normal Vaginal Delivery Of Baby
The cost of delivering a baby is where the bulk of your cost is going to be. For first-timers who have never researched the cost of delivery, the estimates may shock you. But let’s hope you read this article before checking in to the hospital.
Below are data taken from the Ministry of Health (MOH) and accurate as of the time of publishing. This for normal vaginal delivery. All photos below are from MOH.
Public Hospital: Vaginal Delivery
If you are opting for public hospitals, your cost of delivering a baby would be lower. If you opt for an A-Class ward, the median bill is expected to be about $5,016. For Class B1 Ward, this would be slightly lower at $3,730.
Here’s a more detailed breakdown of the bill information by the hospital.
If you do not wish to spend so much on a short stint at the hospital, you can also opt for B1, B2, and C Class wards. Here’s an estimate of what you can expect to pay at the public hospitals.
> The cost of delivering a baby can be as low as $681 (lower bound) in Class C wards. This shows that cost does not have to be high if you don’t wish to spend so much.
> At the 75 percentile level, the cost of delivering a baby at Class B1 ward is around $4,109 (upper bound), which is still substantial. Do note that Class A and B1 wards at public hospitals are considered unsubsidised, which explains the significant cost difference between Class B1 and Class B2.
Private Hospital: Vaginal Delivery
For private hospitals, the cost of delivering a baby would naturally be higher, especially if you are opting for a single room. According to MOH, the median fee you can expect to pay is $8,456.
More details for each of the private hospitals can be found here. Based on individual hospitals, the median bill is from $7,754 (Parkway East Hospital) to $10,495 (Gleneagles).
Similar to public hospitals, you can also opt for more affordable shared wards (2-bedder or 4-bedders) if you wish to reduce the cost of delivering a baby at private hospitals.
Delivery By Caesarean
Caesarean delivery will be more expensive. Firstly, gynaecologist fee will be higher. Secondly, because a caesarean is considered a major type of surgery, you would expect recovery from the procedure to be naturally longer, similar to most other surgeries. This translates into longer hospital stays, which increases the overall bill.
Public Hospital: Caesarean Delivery
If you opt for an A-Class ward at a public hospital, the median fee for a caesaren delivery would be about $8,413. For Class B1 ward, this would be $7,201.
Based on hospital details. you can expect to spend between $6,296 (lower bound, NUH) to $10,719 (higher bound, KKH).
Likewise, you can opt for B1, B2, and C Class wards at public hospitals to lower your cost if budget is a concern. Due to subsidies available, the fees at Class B2 and Class C wards are substantially more affordable compared to Class A and B1 wards.
Private Hospital: Caesarean Delivery
For private hospitals, the median bill fees for caesaren delivery would be $12,782.
This obviously depends on the private hospital you use. You can expect to spend between $11,225 (Lower Bound, Mount Alvernia Hospital) to $18,712 (Upper Bound, Mount Elizabeth Hospital) to deliver a baby. You can also opt for more affordable shared wards (2-bedders or 4-bedders) if you wish to reduce your cost of delivering a baby.
Here’s a quick summary of the cost.
Some observations we have.
> For caesarean, the average hospital stay is about three to four days. On average, mothers spend about one extra day in the hospital compared to normal delivery.
> Unlike normal delivery, where the bill size among private hospitals appeared relatively comparable, the difference is noticeably larger across private hospitals when it comes to caesarean.
> The bill will be higher if there are serious complications with the delivery. So parents need to be mentally prepared for a higher bill. Below is the fee benchmark at private hospitals if there are serious complications.
Normal Delivery Or Caesarean? It’s Not Always Up To You
The choice of doing a normal delivery or a caesarean isn’t always up to you. If there are complications during delivery, the gynaecologist may, or have to, decide to go for an emergency caesarean. This would cost you more than if you had elected for the caesarean in the first place.
Your gynaecologist may advise you to opt for caesarean under a few scenarios. These include if the positioning of the baby isn’t ideal for normal delivery, a low-lying placenta, any prior history, or if you are expecting twins or more.
Other factors that would affect overall cost include whether or not you opt for epidural during delivery, as well as pediatrician cost that you may or may not be told about before your delivery. Don’t forget, your little one needs a doctor as well while he or she is in the hospital and that’s who your pediatrician is.
Do note as well that gynaecologist charge is separated from the hospital charge. Your gynaecologist will quote you for the delivery but that may exclude the hospital charge.
So, if you notice the caesarean delivery charge by your doctor coming up to about $4,500, don’t be too happy yet because chances are that exclude the hospital charge, which could easily double the overall fee.
Last but certainly not least, your baby will be charged as well separately (let’s not forget them). These would include hospital stay (for them), required vaccination(s), whatever milk or diapers they consume during their stay, and any equipment they use.
Medisave Maternity Package (MMP) – Using Medisave For Childbirth
To help offset the cost, the government allows you to use some money from your Medisave to help with the cost of delivering a baby. Here’s a rough breakdown of how much you can claim.
Source: CPF Board
For example, if you have a caesarean delivery and were in the hospital for three days, you will be able to claim $900 (prenatal expenses) + $1,900 (four days hospital stay) + $2,150 (surgical procedure caesarean) for a total of $4,950.
It’s important for us to stress that the cost described above assumes delivery without any major complications. In the unfortunate event that there are complications, specialised treatments, and a longer hospital stay may be required and that would push the overall cost to a much higher amount, even if you opt for lower-class wards at public hospitals.
Top Image Credit: Timothy Ho
This article was first published on 2 May 2017 and have been updated with the latest information.
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