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  • Giving Birth In Singapore Can Cost More Than P1 Million If You're An OFW

    This Pinay mom's hospital expenses rose because her son had to stay inside the NICU.
    by Kitty Elicay .
Giving Birth In Singapore Can Cost More Than P1 Million If You're An OFW
PHOTO BY courtesy of Patricia Duque
  • While Singapore is an ideal place to live in especially if you have kids, the cost of living can still be expensive especially for foreigners. For example, hospital fees are steep, so pregnant Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) would prefer to give birth back in the Philippines. However, this wasn’t the case for Patricia and Paul Duque, a married couple working in Singapore.

    “When I found out I was pregnant, I thought of going back to the Philippines to give birth,” Patricia admits in an email interview with SmartParenting.com.ph. “But I also thought about how my pregnancy will affect my work. I had a lot of questions — should I quit my job? How will my employer react? Will I lose my job?”

    In the end, she and her husband decided it would be better to give birth in Singapore. “Paul wanted to witness our pregnancy journey,” Patricia shares.

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    Giving birth in Singapore

    Patricia with her husband, Paul, and their 14-month-old son, Philix.
    PHOTO BY courtesy of Patricia Duque

    Patricia shares that citizens and permanent residents of Singapore have preferential rates for hospital fees and checkups, but since she is living in Singapore on an employee pass, the rates and discounts do not apply to her. Her checkups, tests, and scans amounted to around 8 to 10,000 Singapore Dollars (SGD). That’s around Php290,000 to Php363,000.

    Because Patricia and Paul were both working — Paul is an assistant manager in the Fitness industry while Patricia is an assistant HR manager in an IT company — they were prepared for the childbirth expenses. What they were not prepared for was the early arrival of their little one.

    “On my 34th week of pregnancy, I was scheduled for a Growth Scan and full Doppler at Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital. The receptionist is a Filipina and as soon as she passed me the results, she told us, ‘Iha, huwag mo na patagalin, idiretso mo na agad ‘yung result sa OB mo,” Patricia shares. “Luckily, we also had an appointment with our doctor that day.”

    After seeing the results, the doctor advised Patricia that she had to deliver their baby within one to two days because their baby’s growth was delayed and he was not getting enough nutrients. “She told me that she knew I preferred to have a normal delivery but she would not take the risk,” Patricia says.

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    Philix was born at 34 weeks and weighed 2 kilograms.
    PHOTO BY courtesy of Patricia Duque
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    Since her baby weighed less than what was expected of his gestational age (GA), Patricia’s doctor asked her to eat as much Durian as she could because her son needed to weigh at least 2.2 kilograms at birth — supposedly, eating the fruit can make your baby bigger.

    After their appointment, Patricia was scheduled for a cardiotocography (CTG). While they were doing the test, her blood pressure suddenly went up and the nurse told her that her baby’s heart rate had dropped. According to Patricia’s doctor, they couldn’t wait for two days anymore — she needed to give birth right away.

    Paul insisted for his wife to be transferred to another hospital — it was where they had originally planned to give birth and where the fees were more manageable. Thankfully, the nurse who accompanied them in the ambulance was a Filipina and made sure they were well taken care of.

    Patricia gave birth through an emergency C-section less than 20 minutes after arriving at the hospital. Her son, Philix, was premature at 34 weeks and weighed only 2 kilograms and he was immediately taken to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Patricia only got to see him the next day. “Ang sakit pala Makita ‘yung anak mo na puro swero,” she shares.

    Patricia was discharged after three days but Philix stayed in the NICU for 14 days as his blood sugar was not stable. He was only allowed to go home after clearing his blood sugar test. When he passed, Paul and Patricia were overjoyed. “It was an answered prayer. Ang sarap ng feeling!” Patricia shares.

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    The cost of giving birth in Singapore

    If you are OFWs and planning to raise your kids in Singapore, your kids would need a dependent pass.
    PHOTO BY courtesy of Patricia Duque

    Since Patricia had undergone a C-section and their son stayed in the NICU for two weeks, she and Paul ended up paying more than what they prepared for. Their hospital expenses ballooned to SGD31,000 or roughly Php1,125,476. Thankfully, they were able to pay some of the hospital bills in installments and settled the full amount after around 10 months.

    If you are a foreigner planning to give birth in Singapore, here are some of the expenses you need to prepare for:

    • Blood test costs around SGD100 (Php3,600)
    • Pelvic Ultrasound costs around SGD130 (Php4,700)
    • Ultrasound (growth) costs around SGD260 (Php9,400)
    • Ultrasound with Doppler costs around SGD280 (Php10,170)
    • Antenatal package costs around SGD2,500 (Php90,800)
    • First Trimester Screening costs around SGD380 (Php13,800)
    • Consultation fees cost around SGD120 per visit (Php4,300)
    • Obstetrician fees cost around SGD500 per visit (Php18,160)
    • Vaginal delivery costs around SGD2,190 and up (Php79,583) for a 2-day stay, exclusive of professional fees
    • C-section delivery costs around SGD3,556 and up (P129,222) for a 3-day stay, exclusive of professional fees
    • Vaccines for babies costs SGD150 to SGD250 per visit (Php5,440 to Php9,000)

    After giving birth, female foreigners working in Singapore are entitled to two months paid maternity leave and have an option of 1-month unpaid maternity leave.

    It is also worth noting that babies born to foreigners in Singapore are only allowed a 30-day stay, the same as normal tourists. So after Philix was born, Paul and Patricia needed to get him a passport and a dependent pass. “We were really lucky because my husband’s company helped him get a dependent pass for our boy,” Patricia shares.

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