Lise delivered a baby girl in January 2009 in Singapore. It is her second child, the first having being born in France.
There are many excellent maternity and OB-GY in Singapore. I’d say the hardest thing is to pick one!
You can go either public or private. The main difference is the cost if you are Singaporean or permanent resident. If you are a foreigner, the cost of delivering in a private or a public hospital will be very high as you do not benefit from the discount. Very few local heath insurances will cover for health costs related to pregnancy and delivery.
I chose to go to private and deliver in the hospital where my regular doctor attends. It is not too far away and our pediatrician is also there.
My doctor offered a “pregnancy package” which lowered significantly the prenatal care costs. The routine pregnancy monitoring includes a check up with a basic sonogram every 4 weeks (every 2 weeks from 7,5 month onward and every week after 8 month), a blood test at 4 month and monthly urine testing. No physical exam is performed before the very end of the pregnancy to check the cervix.
Additional sonograms and exams can be performed if requested such as the OSCAR test for Down syndrome, which include a sonogram and a blood test or the second trimester sonogram to check the baby development and anatomy. Most of the testing performed in Europe or in the USA will be available upon request.
Doctors are very keen on supplementing mothers-to-be with Folic Acid (first 3 months), Iron and multi-vitamins as well as Calcium and Fish Oil (Omega 3). They are also very keen on giving medical leave so the mother to be can rest if she is tired.
Weight is not a major issue as long as you don’t overdo. But I took 17 kgs for this pregnancy vs. 11 kgs for my first and my doctor never even broached the topic…
I had an easy pregnancy with little morning sickness and apart from water retention due to the Singaporean climate, I was as fit as possible.
Prenatal classes are available at your chosen hospital but as it was my second baby, I did not attend.
Doulas and prenatal classes can also be found in other places such as Mother and Child, Birth and Beyond, etc.
Prenatal care, such as massages are easy to find. Most of the spas will have specific offers. I tried and loved it. It is great to relax and drain the excess water if you are as swollen as I was.
A birth plan is advisable as it ensures that your wishes will be known to all. Your doctor can help you and you can find lots of models on the web.
I had irregular contractions throughout my 8th month and at 8.5 months, I was already 3 cms dilated. My doctor kept telling me that the baby could come any minute now. She kindly waited for the first day of my maternity leave and at 38 weeks, on Jan. 19th 2009, around 10PM I started to have contractions frequently enough to rush in the hospital. We arrived at 12.15AM, I was rushed into monitoring then into the Labor room, with contractions less than 5 minutes apart. The time for the epidural to be settled I was fully diluted and ready to push. In the mean time, I was given some gas to help me. Chloe was born at 1.50AM and was examined 30 minutes later. My husband was able to follow her all the time. Chloe and I were roomed in around 3AM. We had a single room with a sofa bed in case the new father wants to spend the night.
Note: In Singapore only legally married husbands can enter the labor room.
C Sections are frequent and VBAC are not usual but if you discuss with your doctor, most of them will be understanding.
I stayed 3 days (this is the minimum stay) during which I was able to have Chloe with me at all times. There is also a well staffed nursery if the new mother wants to rest.
Breast feeding is quite favored and lactation consultants are there to help and advise.
Postnatal classes are very limited and first time mothers can be a bit lost as most of the Singaporeans will either rely on a family member to teach them or hire a confinement nanny (see below).
Post natal care includes massages and Malay herb wrappings (a 10 session treatment is recommended) to help new mothers to get back in shape. Post natal yoga and Pilates classes are widely available across the island. Even the French perinea reeducation program is available since a French therapist has settled down here.
Maternity leave consists of 2 periods: 8 weeks paid by the company and 8 weeks subsidized by the Singaporean State if you are the mother of the Singaporean child.
As a consequence, you are entitled to 16 weeks, that you can take at the discretion of your company but only half of it will be paid.