It's expensive to give birth, more so during a pandemic. Many women who have given birth during the quarantine period have reported higher fees that the usual maternity package.
Based on moms' feedback, vaginal deliveries now costs even more than a C-section (CS) surgery. It means CC deliveries may also be much higher than expected. How much higher the cost depends on the hospital. Still, it's the reason some pregnant women are choosing to give birth in lying-in center or at home, which can be unsafe.
According to Dr.Christina Padolina, the president of the Philippine Obstetrical and Gynecological Society (POGS), higher childbirth fees are expected. Many couples have been advised by their doctors to prepare to shell out as high as Php50,000 more.
"If the perception is 'See each patient as if they are persons under investigation (PUIs),' the ob-gyn shoulds also be adequately protected," Dr. Padolina explained to ABS-CBN News. "All the physician's staff and the physician himself should also be adequately protected," she added.
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The new additional expenses on top of the usual childbirth cost include COVID-19 tests, screenings, attending healthcare workers' personal protective equipment (PPE), and face masks.
POGS hopes that the Department of Health (DOH) heed their recommendation that PhilHealth to cover COVID-19 tests for all pregnant women who are about to give birth. These are pregnant women who are at least 37 weeks pregnant and above.
Having Philhealth cover COVID-19 testing costs for pregnant women would lessen the financial burden on the patient. It would also mean lower childbirth expenses for pregnant women who tested negative for COVID-19.
According to the DOH, under the expanded testing rules, vulnerable pregnant women or those who have had exposure to probably or confirmed COVID-19 cases should undergo COVID-19 tests for free. Some hospitals also do not charge an additional cost for PPEs if they were part of a donation.
PhilHealth, on the other hand, is still awaiting the release of the implementing guidelines on expanded testing.
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Childbirth always carries risks, whether it happens in a hospital or not, and that is why many doctors are against home births. To mitigate these risks, a hospital is still the safest place. The added costs due to COVID-19 is for your family's safety as well as your doctors.