Singapore is a small but prosperous country. More than 33,000 babies are born there each year, and more than 16 million tourists visit each year. If you’re a foreigner or visiting expat in Singapore and you’re thinking about having a baby there, it’s important to understand the process and what your medical expenses might look like. Read on for a guide to the prenatal landscape in Singapore.
As opposed to having public healthcare and private healthcare options, Singapore offers maternity packages and subsidies for Singaporean citizens and permanent residents.
With packages, instead of paying per visit, you’ll pay a lump sum that covers a variety of appointments and treatments you’ll have. Prenatal packages are offered by most gynecologists, and they tend to cost anywhere from S$1,500 to S$2,000.
Singaporean citizens and permanent residents can deduct costs from prenatal care for their first 4 children. These subsidies come from what’s known as the Central Provident Fund (CPF). It's a savings plan for citizens to save for healthcare, retirement, and housing costs.
Costs depend on what type of maternity package you use and whether you give birth in a public or private hospital. Here are some average costs:
- (Public hospital) Total average hospital bill for a regular birth: S$5,100
- (Public hospital) Total average hospital bill with a c-section: S$8,000
- (Private hospital) Total average hospital bill for a regular birth: S$7,700
- (Private hospital) Total average hospital bill with a c-section: S$12,000
Can a non-resident or visitor on a tourist or other visa deliver a baby in Singapore? Is birth tourism a thing in Singapore?
It isn’t uncommon for pregnant visitors and non-residents to give birth in Singapore. Expats residing in Indonesia and other adjacent countries often travel to Singapore for prenatal care. In fact, the Singaporean government has streamlined the process of visitors coming to the country for such purposes. To deliver your baby in Singapore, you should pre-apply for a visit pass and allow 4 to 5 weeks for your application to be processed.
Singaporean currency is the Singaporean dollar, written as ‘S$’ to distinguish it from other dollar currencies. It’s also seen by its currency code, ‘SGD.’ If you’re planning your budget and want to compare costs in S$ to your home currency, use an online currency converter.
|Baby delivery medical procedures in Singapore||Average cost - without insurance (SGD)||Average cost - with subsidies from Central Provident Fund (SGD)|
|Prenatal doctor visit and care||S$75-S$150||S$0 - S$100|
|Prenatal ultrasound||$100-$200||S$0 - S$100|
|Birth and delivery in the hospital||S$3,500 - S$12,000||Total cost minus S$3,000 subsidy|
|Cesarean section in the hospital||Start at S$4,000+||Total cost minus S$4,850 subsidy|
|Home birth and delivery with midwife||Rare||Rare|
Home births are rare in Singapore, so you’d most likely be giving birth at a public or private hospital.
The length of your stay will depend on your maternity package, but the standard offering is 2 nights for a normal vaginal birth and 3 nights for a birth by caesarean section. If you don’t have a maternity package and you’d like to save money, you could stay 1 night if everything has gone well for your delivery. A shorter stay means a lower bill. However, it’s never a bad idea to stay longer in hospital, where you’ll have access to nurses and medical staff.
Some common items that you’ll need may be available in hospital, but the availability of products and the policy of doling them out will depend on the hospital you’re in. To be extra prepared, you should pack the following items to bring to the hospital:
- Nursing bras
- Robe or pyjamas
- Phone charger
- A few sets of comfortable clothing
- A camera
- A swaddle blanket
- A few sets of clothing for the baby
- A hat and/or mittens for the baby
The following documents will come in handy at the hospital:
- A letter from your gynecologist
- A hospital admission form
- Identity cards for both parents
- A marriage certificate for the parents
If you’ve just given birth, you can register your child at the hospital if your hospital is eligible, or at the Registry of Births and Deaths or at the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA). The turnaround for registration is relatively quick; you should register within 14 days of birth. If you wait until 42 days or longer, you’ll need to pay a fine and submit a letter of explanation for the delay. If you choose to have a non-parent register the child’s birth, you’ll need to write a letter of permission. You’ll also need the following for registration:
- Notification of birth
- Valid photo IDs from both parents
- Parents’ marriage certificate
- Entry permit and disembarkation/embarkation card issued by ICA for foreigners
- Child’s name
- Around S$18 for processing fees
If I am not a Singaporean national but have a baby in Singapore, will my child have to choose between nationalities or will they get Singaporean citizenship?
If your child is born in Singapore and has one Singaporean parent, they’re eligible for Singaporean citizenship. Both parents also need to be legally married at the time of the birth for the baby’s citizenship to be possible. Applications for naturalisation are considered for those born outside of Singapore and are considered on a case-by-case basis.
Singapore does not officially allow dual citizenship. Some acquire dual citizenship if they’re born outside of Singapore but move to Singapore at a young age. Foreigners who naturalise as Singaporean citizens must renounce their original citizenship.
Singaporean moms are entitled to 16 weeks of maternity leave - 4 weeks prior to birth and 12 weeks afterwards. There are some rules around this leave, though. You’re legally entitled to this leave if the child will be a Singaporean citizen, if you’re married to the child’s other parent, and if you’ve worked for your employer for at least 3 months prior to your child’s birth.
If you’re a foreigner, you’re entitled to 8 weeks of maternity leave, and your employer might also choose to fund another 4 weeks if you’re lucky. The government allows 2 weeks of paid paternity leave if you’ve worked for at least 3 months prior to your child’s birth, either for an employer or as a self-employed worker.
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Singapore has excellent hospitals with global standards of medical care. If you’re having your baby there, you’re in good hands. Navigating a new system as a foreigner can be difficult, but Singapore has well-developed infrastructure for prenatal care and delivery. Refer back to this guide for your questions and concerns on pregnancy and delivery in Singapore.