Baby OTW? How To Choose The Best Hospital For You
STORY: Priyanka Elhence
21 September 2021
Singapore is probably one of the safest places to give birth to a baby, thanks to its efficient healthcare systems and world-class maternity services. The choice of the hospital should happen well before your baby is born. Budget concerns aside, it can be a daunting experience having to narrow down just one hospital from the wide range of great private and public hospitals available on the island. For instance, what are the support classes like? Will your OB-GYN be allowed at the hospital of your choice? What is the admission procedure like? So many questions!
Here are a few key things to take note of when choosing the best hospital for you:
Which hospital is your OB-GYN linked to?
The hospital choice is usually made when you choose your OB-GYN, because it would make sense that the person who’s seeing you through your entire pregnancy will also be there when you actually give birth. Most OB-GYNs are linked to one hospital in particular, although may be allowed to practice in other hospitals for specific cases, so find out which hospital your doctor can deliver your baby at, and if that hospital is an option for you.
Ensure your hospital of choice specialises in maternity care
All hospitals can deliver a baby, but not all hospitals specialise in maternity care. While the private hospitals in the city do have emergency rooms, the smaller ones might not necessarily have an emergency team in place to deal with severe medical emergencies. If you happen to choose a hospital that is not able to handle such an emergency delivery, you will most likely be sent to the nearest public hospital that is capable of delivering care. Singapore’s public hospitals that do offer maternity care are the best place to be in case of an emergency during delivery, as you won’t have to go anywhere else.
Public vs Private
One of the most important deciding factors is cost and it’s no secret that public hospitals are the more affordable option, since costs are usually subsidised by the government (and you pay even less if you are a Singaporean citizen). But there is a time trade-off with cost, so expect to have much longer waiting times at public hospitals than at private hospitals. If budget is not an issue, then private hospitals might be your answer, as they have shorter waiting times and more luxury touches. The MOH Bill Estimator can help you work out the estimated cost of a hospital stay for both options. Do remember that this is only an estimate, and that the final bill can still vary significantly, depending on the treatment required and the length of stay in hospital.
Out of the 16 public hospitals and specialty centers currently in Singapore, these three are among the most common for maternity and giving birth:
● KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital is the only public hospital in Singapore that specialises in caring for women and children. They hold the record of the hospital with the largest number of delivery cases in Singapore per year, delivering 30-35 babies a day. KKH also offers post-natal advice, such as lactation consultants to help with breastfeeding issues. With a dedicated perinatal team always on standby, there’s no waiting around for an emergency c-section if needed.
● NUH (National University Hospital) specialises in high-risk obstetrics and is hands down the place you want to be in the event of a complicated pregnancy and delivery. This hospital provides the most comprehensive care for at-risk infants with their cardiology, ICU, neonatal care and pediatric surgery departments all under one roof. NUH is also the hospital for those who are looking for natural birth, and is the first hospital in Singapore to offer water-birth and aromatherapy for a natural experience.
● SGH (Singapore General Hospital) is known to be a highly dependable and the most cost-effective hospital for normal deliveries, with an extensive post-natal support program in place too. In addition to having a confinement menu crafted by dieticians for new moms, the hospital is also very progressive when it comes to skin-on-skin, breastfeeding and after-care support.
Book a hospital visit
You can read all you want about what maternity facilities a hospital offers, but there is no substitute for physically visiting the maternity ward and seeing how that feels. What are the rooms like? Does the environment feel supportive and relaxed or rushed and harried? Perhaps such visits might not be allowed during this pandemic stage, but most hospitals do allow a virtual viewing appointment to give you a rough idea of what to expect.
Ask friends and family for their recommendations
Who better to ask for advice than someone you trust that has recently given birth too. Ask them why they chose the hospital that they did, how did their experience rank and would they recommend the hospital?