There may be hidden costs on every dollar you spend. The Real Cost, a SingSaver Series, uncovers all the unexpected expenses you’re incurring.
Getting pregnant in Singapore can cost you several thousand dollars - even without going for a fancy hospital ward.
When the government straight up gives you money just to get you to procreate, you know raising a child in Singapore isn’t exactly cheap.
While Medishield does help Singaporeans cover the costs of pregnancy (at least in terms of hospitalisation and childbirth), there are plenty of other things expectant parents have to pay for.
Here’s an estimate of what the real cost of pregnancy in Singapore looks like.
Common expenses for pregnant families in Singapore
|Item||Average price range|
|Pre-natal genetic testing*||S$650 to S$1,600|
|Gynaecologist visits||S$2,000 to S$4,000|
|Pre-natal classes||S$300 to S$4,000|
|Birth, Normal*||Ward B2, C: S$1,200 to S$1,400|
Ward A, B1: S$3,700 to S$5,000
|Birth, Assisted*||Ward B2, C: S$1,600 to S$2,200|
Ward A, B1: S$4,500 to S$6,000
|Birth, Caesarean^||Ward B2, C: S$2,200 to S$2,600|
Ward A, B1: S$7,200 to S$8,400
|Vitamins and supplements||S$100 to S$300 per month|
|Maternity insurance||S$300 to S$900 per plan|
|Confinement nanny||S$3,000 to S$4,000 (28 days)|
|Pre/post-natal massage||From S$100 for 60 mins|
|Starter pack after delivery (cot, pram, clothes, formula, diaper)||Cot: S$60 to S$300|
Pram: S$300 to S$600
Clothes: Romper (S$15), Bodysuit-3 pc (S$22), Socks-3 pairs (S$6.90), Mittens-3pairs (S$7.90), Blanket swaddle (S$9.90)
Formula: 400gm (S$30)Diaper: 60pack (S$17)
Pre-natal genetic tests - From S$650
When you are pregnant, it’s a good idea to screen for genetic defects and conditions. These complications can determine the viability of your fetus, or affect your baby’s future quality of life.
The average cost for such procedures can range from S$650 to over S$1,500, according to historical data from the Ministry of Health (MOH). This depends on the type and number of tests, as well as whether you have them at a government hospital or a private specialist clinic.
Ultimately, the decision to screen or not is up to you. However, know that the risk of carrying a baby with such conditions vary with age and lifestyle. Do consult your gynae on whether these tests are suitable or necessary for you.
Gynaecologist visits - From S$2,000
Finding a good gynaecologist to follow through with the pregnancy can be a costly affair. On average, each visit to the OBGYN could range between S$150 to S$400.
Throughout the gestation period, there will be monthly visits to the clinic. The frequency increases as you reach the third trimester, up to two visits a month.
Some clinics accept credit cards, while others only take cash or cheque. Make sure you call ahead to find out.
With that range in mind, you are looking at up to S$4,000 for the visits, and this is not counting the birthing cost.
A tip for new parents: through the Medisave Maternity Package (MMP), Singaporeans can use their Medisave for delivery expenses, as well as pre-delivery medical expenses such as consultations and ultrasound. Under the MMP, parents can withdraw S$900 for pre-delivery medical expenses.
Here’s the convenient part - you can just submit your pre-delivery bills to the hospital where your baby was delivered. This will be provided to the CPF Board for you, together with the delivery expenses.
Pre-natal Classes - From S$300 onwards
Most hospitals offer prenatal classes to help soon-to-be parents learn about what to do when the contractions come, as well as to help with posture, lactation, and nutritious eating. KKH, Mount Elizabeth, Thomson Medical Centre and Raffles Hospital conduct their own prenatal (or antenatal) classes.
Classes can range from S$50 to S$250 per class, depending on the courses (some come only in packages), if it’s conducted in a group, and if you’ll be delivering at the same hospital (usually cheaper). You can attend as few as one class to as many as 17 classes.
Hospital Birth (two to three days stay) - From S$1,200 onwards
The largest proportion of your pregnancy costs will come from the actual birth, which starts from an average of S$1,200 for a normal delivery (without interventions needed) at a Class C ward in a government hospital. This can go all the way up to S$13,000 or more at a private hospital.
Obviously, the actual bill you will end up with will be unique to your circumstances. The ward you choose, as well as the option to go to a private hospital instead of a public one, will significantly impact your bill.
What may not be under your control, however, is the type of medical assistance you will require during childbirth.
A normal vaginal birth without any complications will cost the least. However, if medical assistance is required (such as a forceps delivery, for example), then expect a slightly higher bill.
Caesarean births, while common, are nevertheless considered a major surgical procedure, and will be priced accordingly. You may elect for one as your delivery date draws near, or go with a natural delivery.
Take note that if you did not opt for a Caesarean procedure and your gynaecologist orders for one due to safety or health reasons, it will be considered an emergency procedure. This costs more than if you had opted in for the procedure before your delivery date.
There are additional limits available under Medisave to help cover the increased cost of a Caesarean operation.
Vitamins and supplements - From S$100 per month
There are several vitamins and supplements recommended for pregnant mums, and these are commonly dispensed during a routine pregnancy check-up.
You can follow your doctor’s prescription, or get your own from your regular pharmacy. Be sure not to exceed any stated dosages.
After giving birth, it is common to consume certain health products that are traditionally thought to be especially beneficial to new mothers. Some of these include birds nest, ginseng, essence of chicken and more.
Depending on the brand you purchase, and how often you take them, vitamins and supplements can cost you anywhere from S$100 to S$300 a month.
Maternity insurance - From S$300
Maternity insurance is important in covering the ‘what ifs’ in pregnancy and childbirth, so it’s a good thing that it is a relatively affordable one-time cost in most cases.
Meant to work in conjunction with your Medishield and IP coverage, a maternity insurance policy provides coverage for complications during pregnancy and childbirth that could be serious or even life-threatening, which would require medical intervention.
As a complicated pregnancy may also entail an extended hospital stay, do look out for plans that also provide daily benefits to help offset added hospital costs.
Maternity insurance also provides a lump-sum benefit in case of death or disability suffered by mother and/or child.
Confinement nanny - From S$3,000
Whether to avoid falling foul of age-old taboos (and getting nagged half to death by well-meaning relatives) or just so you can focus on resting up and bonding with your baby, it is common practice to hire a confinement nanny during the 28 days following birth.
The temporary helper is meant to perform household chores in your stead, cook suitably nourishing meals to help you recover, and assist you in looking after your newborn. In some circles, confinement nannies are also considered a source of age-old wisdom and child-rearing secrets.
Perhaps it is this added sheen of traditional wisdom and knowledge that elevate confinement nannies into something more than just a temporary helper. Maybe that’s why they don’t come cheap.
It costs around S$3,000 to S$4,000 on average to hire a confinement nanny in Singapore, and apparently, you can take your pick of live-in nannies, part-time nannies and freelance ones.
Pre/Post natal massage - From S$100 for 60 mins
Many mummies swear by pre- and post-natal massages to help them manage discomfort during pregnancy, and to regain a svelte and shapely body afterwards.
Like their regular counterparts, pre-natal massage uses established massage techniques to bring about relaxation, pain relief, and other health benefits for pregnant women and new mothers. They are a great way to address common complaints such as tired feet, swollen calves and backaches.
Post-natal massage, meanwhile, focuses on reworking the body and revitalising the womb to help women recover their health and figures. Depending on the traditions followed, post-natal massage may also incorporate tummy wrapping and herbal medicines.
There are many choices for pre- and post-natal massages, ranging from budget, targeted relief to a full-on spa experience, so you’re sure to find one that’s suited to your budget and your tastes.
Baby essentials: From S$600
After childbirth comes the challenge of rearing your baby, and boy are there several things to buy just to get ready for a new baby.
At the very least, be prepared to buy a baby cot, a pram, infant formula, diapers and clothing, Depending on your tastes (and oxytocin levels), this can set you back anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars.
While the prices of one-time or limited-time use items like the cot and pram can be surprisingly high, it’s the everyday essentials like infant formula and diapers that will get you as your little one uses them up quickly.
The real cost of pregnancy in Singapore
Let’s go ahead and add up our figures for an estimate of the real cost of pregnancy in Singapore.
For simplicity, we’ll take the lowest costs where possible and make modest assumptions for multiple-use items like massages.
|Pre-natal genetic tests||S$650|
|Vitamins and supplements||S$100/mth x 12mths = S$1,200|
|Pre/post-natal massage||S$100/session x 10 = S$1,000|
Even with our extremely modest calculation assuming best-case scenarios all round, we’re still looking at more than S$10,000 for a pregnancy. In reality, the figure is likely to be higher.
You might be able to save on some costs, such as the confinement nanny, if you’re lucky enough to have grandparents or family members who can help out instead.
But there’s always a chance that you might opt for a higher class ward (our estimate assumes the cheapest option). Or maybe even a few extras like mummy yoga classes, high-grade health supplements and branded baby products.
How to save on pregnancy costs in Singapore
Book a maternity package
Since you’ll be spending the money one way or another, you might as well try to get the biggest bang for your buck.
Look for a maternity package that offers check-ups, tests and other essential services you require.
Some packages also include useful add-ons such as breathing classes, saving you the trouble of having to track them down separately.
Boost your Medishield limits
If you’re worried about incurring heavy out-of-pocket costs, try boosting the limits of your Medishield claims.
You can do so by signing on for an Integrated Plan (if you haven’t yet), or switching to one with greater maternity benefits.
Breastfeed as long as possible
With newborn babies needing to be fed up to eight times a day, a 400gm tin of formula would last you all of… three days.
Yeah, that’s astonishingly fast, so aim to breastfeed as much as possible for as long as possible, so you can at least save some money on infant formula at the beginning.
Ask for hand-me-downs
We know, we know, you only want the best for your child, and in the age of next-day Amazon deliveries and cheap Shopee buys, the best also means everything has to be brand new.
But think about it - how long can your baby wear that Pikachu onesie before outgrowing it forever? The same goes for their cot, pram, toys and other accessories.
Ignore the urge to click “Add to Cart” on every cute baby product you see, and instead put that money into an endowment if you really love your child.
At the same time, don’t be too proud to ask for hand-me-downs from your family and friends. Your little one won’t even know it, much less care.
Last but not least, use the right credit cards
Given how the costs will add up to at least S$10,000, remember to raise your credit limit just before the delivery date.
More importantly, it makes absolute sense to make the payments with a suitable credit card and defray some of the cost.
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