Having a Baby
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If you are planning to have a baby while you are residing in Indonesia and, like many expatriates, you would like to go to Singapore to give birth, you will find excellent hospitals with western standards of medical care. However having a baby in a foreign country can also be stressful without the support network of family and more often than not a husband who travels.
Foreign nationals can easily apply for foreign citizenship for their newborn at their Embassy in Singapore.
Many foreign women who do not live in Singapore choose to deliver their babies there. The Singapore Immigration office has a well-established policy for these visitors. If you want to visit for longer than a social visa permits (US citizens get 30 days) you will have get an extended visa which may require you have a sponsor. Contact the immigration office in Singapore for more information.
Once your baby is born in Singapore, his/her birth must be registered with the Registry of Births and Deaths at Singapore Immigration (see Birth Registration Procedure in Singapore). Once you register, you can then obtain a Singapore birth certificate. This does NOT mean your child has Singapore citizenship. Only children of Singapore citizens can obtain Singaporean citizenship. This Singapore birth certificate is required to obtain a Consular Report of Birth Abroad from the US Embassy which is equivalent to a US birth certificate. You can apply for both the Report of Birth Abroad and at the same time a social security number and passport (see Consular Report of Birth in Singapore). Your child will obtain a certificate and a passport at the US Embassy. The social security number will be mailed to your address in the US.
Choosing an Obstetrician and Hospital
First things first – before you choose an OB you’ll need to decide what kind of birth you want. Do you want a high intervention OB who will closely manage your pregnancy or more of a ‘hands off’ OB with a more natural approach? Talk to a few doctors and find one you feel comfortable with. Homebirth is an option in Singapore but there is only one OB (Dr. Paul Tseng at Thomson Medical Centre) who currently offers this service.
Once you find a doctor you’re comfortable with go and visit the maternity wards in a few hospitals. Some doctors have privileges to practice in other hospitals. Thomson Medical Centre is one of the most mother-friendly hospitals in Singapore. The staff is very flexible when it comes to birthplans and doulas and they don’t stick to a set of rigid hospital ‘rules’.
In Singapore there are several hospitals to choose from for maternity care and deliverysuch as Gleneagles and Mount Elizabeth; both are expensive. Thomson Medical Centre is the leading private healthcare provider for women and children, providing quality services with a personalized touch in a friendly and cosy ambience. It is currently the preferred private hospital for women, enjoying the highest number of deliveries among all private hospitals in Sinagpore.
The following information has been partially taken from a book called “Singapore for Kids” by Nicola Supka published by Times Books International, Singapore. Additional comments about Gleneagles Hospital are from the opinions and experiences of several people who have contributed to this article.
Tel (65) 473-7222
Ante-natal program: Four practical lessons and two lectures, each lasting one hour. Cost: S$144.20 per couple. Those registered for delivery at Gleneagles get two complimentary post-natal classes, these are Breast Feeding and Bathing and Formula Preparation. These complimentary classes are given every day, one at 10:00 am the other at 1:00 pm. The instructor is very good and even makes comments on common questions most Asians may have, such as, “Is it okay to eat ginger when I'm breast feeding?'” To register, call (65) 470-5715 or 471-2222.
Maternity Facilities: Ten delivery suites, first stage room with four beds. Each delivery suite has a TV, radio, telephone and recliner chair for the accompanying husband! Central monitors (including infant resuscitator). An 18 bed neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) from level 2A to level 3 NICU intensity. The NICU is just down the hallway from the labor rooms.
The nurses in both maternity and the NICU are wonderful. During both day and night shifts, the nurses are helpful, kind and respond quickly to your calls. The hospital is fully equipped with the state-of-the-art medical equipment that you would find in western hospitals. Many of the doctors are western trained or have equivalent training. Everyone speaks English (since in Singapore that is expected). The food is actually quite good, there are selections of Chinese, Western, Halal (Muslim) and soft foods. The hospital has a large pharmacy and a good cafeteria that has a bakery with fresh daily baked goods. Visiting hours are 9 am to 9 pm.
Parking is difficult, but there is a constant stream of taxis that come into the hospital complex. The American Embassy is right across the street.
Estimated maternity costs: Normal delivery is approximately S$1,600 for a 2-day stay in a 2-bed room, with extra charges for specialists' fees.
Post-natal programs: Parent craft lessons, breast feeding program, bath demonstrations, sterilization of feeding utensils and care of the newborn.
Pediatric care: Gleneagles pediatric ward offers a full range of specialty services in pediatric, medical and surgical care, including pediatric cardiac surgery and neonatal intensive and high dependency care. The pediatric ward has a playroom and baby changing room, and volunteers conduct art and craft and play sessions.
Gleneagles Medical Center, which adjoins the hospital, has about 20 pediatric clinics.
Emergency Care: Ambulance Service - 473-2222 Accident and Emergency- 470-5688
Kandang Kerbau Women & Children's Hospital Branch
Tel. (65) 293-4044
Public Hospital. Antenatal program: Eight weekly sessions, two hours each, covering pregnancy topics and tips on baby care. Cost: $82.40 for those registered for delivery at Kandang Kerbau, S$123.60. Call 394-1268 for further information or to register.
Estimated maternity costs: Estimates are based on statistical averages of past admissions for a first child and three-day stay. Nursery charges are included. Normal delivery - private room/2 bed room S$1,950 , 4-bedroom S$1,300 , 6-bed room S$600.
Many of the hospitals also offer childbirth classes. However you should also connect with some of the independent childbirth educators in Singapore – so you’re sure to get balanced unbiased information on what your options are. Doulas are also becoming more popular with expatriate women and there are several companies offering this service. OBs offer maternity ‘packages’ which will cover a normal delivery but over all the costs are affordable (usually around 4-6k including hospital bill) However it’s a good idea to sign up for insurance before you get pregnant to cover any extras as a result of any complications. Most insurance companies have a 6-12 month wait time before you get pregnant so check out your options.
An important area to consider when planning for your baby’s arrival is the lack of aftercare in Singapore. There are no community nurses coming to check on you, as can be the case in many countries. The first few weeks with a new baby can be exhausting and sometimes isolating so this might be a good time to have a close family member, friend or your Mum come to help out while you and your new baby get acquainted.
Mount Elizabeth Hospital
Tel. (65) 737-2666
Ante-natal program: Six weekly sessions, each 1 1/2 hours from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm. Cost: S$240. A S$90 rebate is available to women who deliver at MEH. To register call 731-2133 or 731-2132.
Maternity facilities: Eight delivery suites and one first stage room with six beds. Each delivery suite has a TV, radio, telephone and recliner chair. A 26-bed neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) from level 1 to level 3 intensity.
Estimated Maternity Costs: Between S$2,000 and S$4,000 for a normal delivery, depending on length of stay. This excludes specialists' fees which may vary.
Postnatal and Pediatric facilities: Postnatal program with breast feeding counseling and Parent craft classes: sessions on breast feeding, bottle-feeding, bathing and care of the newborn. Outpatient clinics include specialty services in pediatrics.
Mount Elizabeth's pediatric ward offers a full range of subspecialty services in pediatric, medical and surgical care, including pediatric cardiac surgery. A separate unit provides neonatal intensive and high-dependency care. The pediatric ward has a playroom and baby changing room.
Mount Elizabeth Medical Center, which adjoins the hospital, has about 15 pediatric clinics.
Emergency Care: Ambulance Service: 731-2218 or 731-2259 or 731-4444 Accident and Emergency: 737-2666 (24 hours).
Raffles Women's Centre
24 Hr Appointment (65) 6311-1222
Raffles Women’s Centre has the biggest team of Consultant Obstetricians & Gynaecologists in the private health care sector with 12 Obstetrics & Gynecology specialists.. The six clinics are conveniently located at prime area, opening from morning till night. The centre offers state-of-the-art facilities and provides quality medical and surgical care for women of all ages.
General Obstetrics and Gynaecology services
Foetal Maternal Medicine andManagement of high-risk pregnancy
Minimally Invasive Surgery
Thomson Medical Centre
Tel (65) 6250 2222/6256 9494
Ante-Natal and Post-Natal Program – At the Thomson ParentCraft Centre, new parents will be empowered and equipped with practical take-home skills as they embark on their new phase of life. Antenatal and Postnatal services are available to provide parents with unique insights and hands-on tips on how to care for their babies and understand family needs during this very special time. The services include: Childbirth Education, Breastfeeding Counselling, Caring for the Newborn, Baby Massage, Homecare Services, 24-hour Postnatal Hotline, Caregiver Training, Confinement Nannies.
Maternity Facilities – The delivery suites are specially designed to create a home-away-from home for the patients. The labour ward is well- equipped to handle all normal and assisted deliveries, and caesarian sections. Other unique services including hydrotherapy to provide pain relief during labour and natural births assisted by doulas or birth planners. Accommodation types range from VIP and deluxe suites to standard single-bed and two and four-bedded rooms. Personalised lactation coaching for breast-feeding mothers is provided. The nurseries provide general neonatal care as well as specialized care services such as neonatal jaundice phototherapy.
Estimated Maternity Costs –Package prices depend on types of delivery/caesarean and types of rooms. Packages are for normal procedures and items commonly used by doctors only. These excludeing doctor’s professional fees.
Paediatric Care – The Neonatal Intensive Care Units are equipped with the latest state-of-the-art equipment to handle complicated cases requiring special attention, such as congenital abnormalities, birth complications, multiple low birth weight and premature babies. At Thomson Medical Centre, there is also a pool of Paediatricians providing comprehensive services such as developmental & neurological assessments and treatment in the areas of child behavior, allergies, asthma, nutritrion and autism.
Other one-stop services include fertility treatment and pre-natal diagnostic assessments, genetic and chromosomal screening to ensure optimal management of pregnancy and childbirth.
Singapore law requires all births to be registered within 14 days from the date of occurrence (birth). Births may be registered at the Registry of Births and Deaths, Singapore Immigration Building 10 Kallang Road, #03-00, Singapore 208718 on the following days and time: Monday to Friday - from 8:00am to 4:30 pm. Saturday - from 8:00 am to 12:30 pm.
For births occurring at Kandang Kerbau Women & Children's Hospital only, register the birth of your child at the Birth Registration Branch at Kandang Kerbau Women & Children's Hospital on the following days and time: Monday to Friday - from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm and Saturday - from 8:00 am to 12:30 pm.
A fee of S$18.00 is payable for birth registration. Parents are to choose the child's name carefully and to have it ready at the time of the child's birth registration. Ethnic characters of the child's name in Chinese, Jawi, or Tamil can be included in the child's Birth Certificate. This is optional but parents must ensure the accuracy of the ethnic characters furnished. Parents/Informants of birth will have to write the ethnic characters in the birth certificates themselves. If they are unable to do so, they will have to bring someone to write it on their behalf. For Chinese children who have been given a name in Hanyu Pinyin, the Chinese characters of his name must be reflected in the birth certificate.
A request for an alteration of the child's name in the birth registercan be accepted before the child is one year old and provided that no certified extract of he birth register has been issued during this period. If you require more information you can call the Registry of Births and Deaths at 391-6342 or Kandang Kerbau Women & Children's Hospital Branch Registry of Births and Deaths at 291-7053.
Upon completion of registration, the parents will be issued a Singaporean birth certificate. This does NOT mean your child has Singapore citizenship. Only children of Singapore citizens can obtain Singaporean citizenship.
Report of Birth to Singapore Immigration
The Singaporean birth certificate is required to obtain a travel document or passport for your child from your home country's embassy in Singapore.
Birth Registration Procedure in Singapore
1. The Law requires all births to be registered within 14 days from the date of occurrence (birth).
2. Births may be registered at the Registry of Births and Deaths, Singapore Immigration Building 10 Kallang Road, #03-00 , Singapore 208718 on the following days and time: Monday to Friday - From 8:00 am to 4:30 pm Saturday - From 8:00 am to 12:30 pm
For births occurring at Kandang Kerbau Women & Children's Hospital only, please register the birth of your child at the Birth Registration Branch at Kandang Kerbau Women & Children's Hospital on the following days and time: Monday to Friday - From 8:00 am to 4:30 pm Saturday - From 8:00 am to 12:30 pm
3. The following documents are required to be produced at the time of birth registration:
a. Notification of Live-Birth (Form BD 50) - usually provided by the hospital.
b. Identity cards of both parents. Non-Singaporean parents are required to produce their foreign IC/Passport, entry-permit, embarkation/disembarkation cards issued by the Immigration Department;
c. The parents' original marriage certificate; In the case of a baby born out of wedlock, the father's particulars may be recorded in the baby's BC if the father is the informant of the birth.
d. A Letter of Authorization from the parents of the child, if someone else registers the birth.
4. A fee of $18.00 SGD is payable for birth registration.
5. Parents are to choose the child's name carefully and to have it ready at the time of the child's birth registration.
Ethnic characters of the child's name in Chinese, Jawi, or Tamil can be included in the child's Birth Certificate. This is optional but parents' Informants must ensure the accuracy of the ethnic characters furnished.
Parents/Informants of birth will have to write the ethnic characters in the birth certificates themselves. If they are unable to do so, they will have to bring someone to write it on their behalf.
For Chinese children who have been given a name in Hanyu Pinyin, the Chinese characters of his name must be reflected in the birth certificate.
A request for an alteration of the child's name in the birth register can be accepted before the child is one year old and provided that no certified extract of he birth register has been issued during this period.
If you require more information you can call:
Registry of Births and Deaths at Tel. 391-6342
For Americans: see the Consular Report of Birth Abroad page to get more information on the acquiring the necessary US documents for your child to obtain a Report of Birth Abroad, a US Passport and social security number.
As you await the birth of your child, in Indonesia and in Singapore, take time to relax and be good to yourself. There are plenty of activities available such as yoga classes, swimming and treats such as pregnancy massage. Make sure you keep yourself well hydrated and enjoy these few months.
If you have medical-related questions about living in Indonesia to ask of medical professionals, see Ask the Experts.
We trust this information will assist you in making correct choices regarding your health and welfare. However, it is not intended to be a substitute for personalized advice from your medical adviser.
Our thanks to Raffles Medical Group, Thomson Medical Centre, and Tracy Donegan for their contributions to this article.
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