The preparations needed to have a baby are not as straightforward as some may think, but with Singapore’s healthcare options and the range of pre-natal facilities in the city, there is every reason that your pregnancy should be a smooth experience. Read on for all you need to plan for, from pre-pregnancy medical screenings to post-pregnancy care after giving birth.
In the early planning of a pregnancy, women are recommended to schedule a prenatal check-up. This exam involves a physician who ensures that the woman is healthy enough to carry a baby without posing any risks to mother or child. There are then pre-pregnancy screenings included to test for syphilis and Hepatitis B, along with an evaluation of lifestyle habits that could influence a pregnancy (i.e. smoking or obesity). In this early process, soon-to-be fathers are encouraged to undergo a similar assessment to screen against genetic diseases such as cystic fibrosis and sickle cell anemia, and any concerns regarding fertility can be answered with a sperm count test.
Counselling sessions can also be a part of the preparation before pregnancy, and can be useful to couples who want to frame their excitement and concerns about starting or continuing a family through discussion. Couples who would rather have the option for a wide range of international counselors can do so by approaching a private clinic.
If either one of the couple have a private insurance policy, or even an employer-sponsored cover, they should make sure to contact the insurance company as soon as the decision has been made to try for a baby. The majority of maternity policies have a waiting period, meaning cover will not start until a certain amount of time has passed from the start of the insurance. It is therefore essential to begin paying these premiums as soon as possible, so that coverage is active once the pregnancy has begun.
Staying active is one of the best ways to keep pregnant women in good health, and maintaining overall physical wellness leads to a healthier child. Expecting mothers have a variety of fitness options such as pre-natal yoga, pilates sessions and even low-impact barre dance workouts.
Selecting A Healthcare Partner
Singapore has excellent doctors and hospitals available around the city, and regardless of your budget there will be physicians and facilities on offer to guide soon-to-be parents through the entire process of giving birth, from start to finish. Locals and expat residents alike in Singapore are encouraged to look at maternity packages from private hospitals. As pregnant women do not have access to free benefits as far as welfare through health care is concerned, government resources point to the hospitals around Singapore and suggest getting in contact with them to handle a pregnancy. Although private packages that include delivery plus the price of pre-natal check-ups can be costly, there are added comforts in knowing that long waiting times can be missed and scheduling check-ups is more convenient.
Companies in Singapore are not under any legal obligations to provide maternity cover under employee insurance, so it may be necessary to approach your current insurance company about a future pregnancy, or start a discussion with a new one. With either option, this must be done relatively early as waiting periods are imposed on individuals who have new maternity plans. Waiting periods are also getting longer in Singapore, and can be as long as 24 months, so make sure you have organised everything in good time.
Maternity and Paternity Leave
An eligible employee (has been working for 3 months in the company) in Singapore is entitled to maternity leave from work for four weeks immediately before a birth, as well as 12 weeks immediately after the delivery. If an employer agrees, a new mother may take the last eight weeks of that maternity leave at any point over a 12-month period from the child’s birth.Working fathers may share one out of the total sixteen weeks of maternity leave, subject to the agreement of the mother and provided that the child is a Singapore Citizen. In addition, the mother must qualify for Government-Paid Maternity Leave and the father must be lawfully married to the mother.
Unlike cities such as Hong Kong, employees are not entitled to paid sick leave while on maternity leave, and cannot claim for medical expenses incurred in connection with the delivery of her child (unless stated in her employment contract).
The challenges of pregnancy certainly aren’t over immediately after the delivery. Post-pregnancy care can best be prepared by organising all the necessities before the birth, making shopping through a selection of cots, carriers, bottles, clothing and more much easier; or there are online shops that deliver straight to your door.
The most important thing to be aware of are, of course, the potential health concerns that can arise in the first few months after giving birth. It is a good idea to have regular post-delivery check-ups not only to assess the physical health of the baby and mother, but the mental health of the whole family.
The key signs to watch for with a newborn are irregular bowel movements, breathing difficulties and jaundice. In case of emergency, ensure you have the appropriate phone numbers given to you by your doctor to deal with newborn emergencies on hand, and dial 999 if the situation is critical.