Expensive babies

Posted by ~Summer~ on October 30, 2012
in

The hubby and I just paid for our antenatal package at Thomson Medical Centre last week.

And burnt a hole in our pockets.

It seems like giving birth in Sweden and Singapore are two totally different matters.

Cost of check-ups and consultation
Sweden - Free
Singapore - Expensive

Cost of hospitalisation
Sweden - Free
Singapore - Very expensive

Cost of giving birth
Sweden - Free
Singapore - Bloody expensive



Yes, the fact the Sweden has an extraordinarily high taxation rate gives rise to a welfare system where we see doctors and have babies for free. Nonetheless, having gotten pregnant, given birth and raised my first kid there, I've sort of gotten used to everything and so it comes as a culture shock to me now that I'm home.

What baffles me the most is that despite the fact that I am 30-week pregnant, I had to pay the full cost for the antenatal package, same as what a 5-week pregnant mum had to pay. I mean, hello, my baby will be kicking her way out in no time, I've missed out on all the tests you perform in the first and second trimester, BUT I don't get a discount? Life's unfair.



Back in Sweden, the midwives believe in traditional methods, for instance they use measuring tape to measure how much our bellies have grown and they use a fetoscope to listen to the baby's heartbeat. Drastic differences compared to the computerised, hi-tech equipment here. When it comes to ultrasounds, only one scan is performed in the entire pregnancy to ensure the baby is fine, which makes that picture you get a one and only treasure. But in Singapore, I guess you probably lose count of how many scans you do and the pictures stack up like name cards.

Some things I especially love about giving birth in Sweden:

1) Precious first moments

My baby was passed to me the first moment she was born. She laid on my chest as we cuddled together, and the hubby and I sang songs to her, all the time when I was being stitched up. Yeah, that pretty much means we were in a bloody mess but I love those precious first moments of her life and how we spent it as one family. I was told that in Singapore, the baby will be cleaned, checked and weighed before she is handed over to the mum, but upon request, you can ask for immediate handover too. Which I definitely will, bloody or not.


2) No such thing as nursery

As soon as Angel was born, she stuck with me 24/7 for the remaining days in the hospital. That means even as new mum and dad, you learn to take care of your child on your own from birth. Of course, there are nurses to help you should you require any aid, but when it comes to breastfeeding, soothing, changing diapers, making the baby sleep, you basically do it yourself. And no, we don't bathe the child every day there, but they did teach us how to bathe her the night before we got discharged. So you see, there's no such thing as pushing your baby to and fro the nursery or letting the mum get a good night's rest. In spite of that, I actually love the experience of sleeping with her in the same room and knowing that she's beside me every minute, every second. 

3) One family, one room

We were probably lucky that it wasn't the peak season for giving birth, so we got our own ward for three nights of stay. It had two double beds and the hubby was able to comfortably sleep and stay over. Though we stuck to eating home cooked confinement food, it still felt nice to know that the hospital had catered meals to both the mum and dad every single day. The other day at my check-up here, we were told that we needed to decide on which type of ward we wish to take up, almost instantly. Seeing all the pricing for a single bedded room and the costs for having your companion to bunk in, I was flabbergasted and half wished I was still in Sweden.



******

I guess it does seem like it's indeed not cheap to give birth in Singapore, probably partly the reason for our low birth rate.

$$$$$$$$$. It's a money-minded society.

Well, big hole in pocket or not, right now, all I'm hoping for is a smooth and safe delivery and that she will make everything seem so worth it. 

After all, she's priceless.

P/S: Oh, did I mention epidural is also free in Sweden? I didn't take it then and I hope I won't need it now. You ain't gonna earn my $$$ by sticking a needle into my spine. *fingers crossed*
 
******
Linking up with 
MummyMOO


36 comments:

  1. Oooh!! Thanks for sharing such an insightful post. I've always know about the extremely high costs involving babies in Singapore - but until you outlined the differences, I never knew how much!

    And the govt is saying *what* again?

    I settled on my current gynae when I was 24 weeks pregnant, after the previous 3 did not work out for a lot of reasons (blog post for another day). She asked me to consider a package, which of course starts at 20 weeks, but she did make up the 4 week shortfall by providing me an extra 2 check ups - so instead of it being weekly from the 32nd week onward, it was weekly as of the 28th week. These are optional, and I found myself too lazy to go every week till 3 weeks before I was scheduled for delivery!

    It was therefore a pleasant surprise when I checked the bill post delivery, and found out that she had chosen to deduct the amount from the total!

    I suppose with a lot of private doctors it's entirely up to them on how they want to base their charges. As for your package at TMC, is it just pre delivery, or together with the delivery costs?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha yeah, pro-babies nation yet not easy to have a baby here. Oh that was very nice of your gynae, she actually deducted from the total sum, sweet gesture. =)

      Mine at TMC is a antenatal package - check ups + delivery. So it was pretty much a bomb. Paid half of it upfront and the remaining upon delivery. And that's not even including hospitalisation, medicine/vitamins, blood tests etc. Fwah. Too used to having it all FOC so now must re-adjust our mindset. =)

      Delete
  2. It's better to stay in Sweden.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh yeah, I wished I could give birth there before coming back too. Too bad. =) Could have saved up grands!

      Delete
  3. Epidural is free in Sweden? Aww.. I paid $600 for them to stick it in. Have a smooth delivery, I admire mommies who go drug-free! Jia you :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes free! Haha. And I heard in lower dosage too so the side effects might be less, if any. Haha I hope I can save on that $600, it sounds very expensive! Thanks for the encouragement! =)

      Delete
  4. This was very interesting, thank you for sharing and best of luck with the next few weeks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Carly, appreciate it lots! =)

      Delete
  5. This was a really interesting comparison. I would say my experience in Australia is quite similar to Sweden as I chose to go by the public system. I don't really remember having to fork out $$$ for almost the entire process from early antenatal checkups, scans, birthing classes up to delivery (with epidural) and hospital stay.

    For various reasons, some people here still choose to give birth in a private hospital which probably has a similar picture to the one in Singapore... forking out $$$ for each check-up, multiple or 3D scans, being charged for every single panadol and injection, potentially a higher chance of being wheeled off for C-section and being presented with a big bill upon discharge.

    The difference is so clearly laid out in your post that it makes me truly grateful for what I was able to experience.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I see, thanks for sharing about your Aust experience too! =) I decided to go private just so I'm following my sis-in-law's footsteps and seeing the same gynae she did, which she swears is the best around. Well, I'll probably be able to feel the actual differences of birthing when the big day comes! Like you, I am grateful for what I was able to experience in Sweden too! =) It's like something you might never know or comprehend if you did and went through everything in Singapore from day 1. So it was really a blessing for me. =)

      Delete
  6. Surely you can pay per visit and not have to pay for an antenatal package? My doctor at Thomson used to do packages only from 20 weeks, and even then, it only covers the gynae check-ups and scans. Tests, etc. are paid separately. I gave birth at TMC twice and my babies were both handed over to me immediately after they slipped out and the nurses etc. very skillfully clean them up in between, so fear not! That said, they do take the baby away shortly after to weigh, etc. but that's only a short while before they give the baby back to you. I managed to breastfeed both tims in the delivery ward, which was important to me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wish I could, but I asked the nurse about it and she said for this gynae I'm seeing, no breakdown is offered and the entire antenatal package must be taken together. Meaning check-ups, scans plus delivery. And since I've seen her a couple of times already (recommended by sis-in-law), we thus decided to fork out the $$$. You are right, tests, medicine and hospitalisation are all separate and because I have a suspected but inconclusive case of thalassemia, I'm taking a series of blood tests again!

      Thanks for sharing your experience, I would greatly appreciate being able to bf the first moment too. =) My sis in law said the babies will be pushed to the nursery when the mum needs to rest and you won't be able to witness them taking the BCG too, which I did with my first kid in Sweden who stayed by my side since she was born. So I'm not sure how this one will turn out but I do believe there will be some vast differences.

      Delete
  7. Aww yes it is quite different! When I did my check-ups in Japan it was practically free too but I came back just in time to give birth and that certainly cost quite a bit.

    Despite the cost, I still would rather choose to give birth with family and friends around though to share the precious first moments with the new born!

    Ai @ Sakura Haruka

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ahh I see! Agree with you that the first moments are precious and can't be traded for anything. Still, I do appreciate the chance to give birth in a foreign land too, it's how I learnt to become a more independent mummy and those bonding moments we had were priceless too! Thanks for popping over, Ai!

      Delete
  8. I found a similar thing in Australia!! Couldn't believe the price of Private compared to Public!! Luckily I found a small public hospital 5 minutes from my house specialising in births with only 30 beds! :) Fitted me perfectly.. had both children there :)

    #teamIBOT was here :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good for you! 30 beds does sound small but I'm glad everything went smoothly! Private does come at a cost and I'm not sure if it's worth it actually. =) Thanks for hopping by!

      Delete
  9. Best wished for your upcoming new arrival. I had two different experiences too. One in the Uk and one in Australia. Both were free but very different nonetheless :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh yeah I bet giving birth in every country is different and memorable in its own ways. =) It's actually nice to be able to experience different styles too! I hope both were good for you! =) Thanks for reading!

      Delete
  10. Hi Summer, thanks for sharing. All the best and wish you a smooth delivery!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much Virginia, appreciate it! =)

      Delete
  11. Hello, that's so interesting! How amazing to have your partner stay over in Sweden, I'd have loved that, it always felt wrong that my husband went home... well, practical after the first I guess. Nice to meet you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Seana, great to meet you too. Yes I think it's more practical after the first but it made great father-daughterly bonding for the first kid and I can't appreciate enough of his company during those nights!

      Delete
  12. Good luck with the upcoming birth - a very exciting time, regardless of cost!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks much Kirsty! Definitely a very exciting time for us now!

      Delete
  13. Oh good luck for the birth. We went private in Australia after being on the public healthcare system in the UK - boy getting those bills was a shock to the system!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha yes, bills! I can imagine how I feel when I see them too. =) It's just different in every country. Thanks so much for popping by, Kyla!

      Delete
  14. The system in Sweden sounds exactly like the public system here. I didn't have to pay anything for any of my babies, but I would have if I had elected to go privately. Then it would have cost around $5000 all up.
    I think it's rude you have to pay for the whole pregnancy. And I hate the idea of paying a doctor to watch me do all the work! That seems hardly fair!
    Hopefully it all goes really well for you though. xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jess, yeah I guess private just means more $$$$ in every country. Haha, love how you put it, paying a doctor to see you do the work. =) Mums are just awesome, lol. =) Yes, hoping for a smooth and safe delivery too. Thanks so much!

      Delete
  15. Should actually its slightly cheaper if u chose a govt hospital instead of private. But I agree, everything is about money here!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know, Madz, was considering going KK but since TMC had my records and I already knew the gynae so we decided to just stick to it when we came back. =) Well, hopefully it's all worth it!

      Delete
  16. We gave birth at TMC this time round and had a lovely experience (my um 'staycation' there was also brilliant by the way hehe). We told our gynae at every checkup that we would like the baby to be passed to me immediately after birth so that i could breastfeed her and he said sure, unless there were complications. So I breastfed Calla while being stitched up. She was wrapped in a blanket though; I was afraid she would slip all over!

    I was in a 2-bedder (got bumped up becos the 4-bedders that I booked for were overbooked!) and managed to keep baby with me almost all the time. You can request for it so please do! I also requested for her to be kept with me while I got wheeled to my room and she was on my chest the whole time :)

    Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's awesome to know, Adora, thanks so much for telling me. Great to know you had a happy experience there. I am so going to request for every possible moment to keep my bb beside me, on me, with me. Hehe. =) Thanks lots!

      Delete
  17. Welcome back Summer. Didnt know Angel was born in Sweden, so does that make her a Sweden citizen? Wishing you a smooth safe delivery & a healthy bb :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks leafytea! Yeah she's born that but a Singaporean citizen by descent. She needs to take the oath when she's 21! Thanks so much for the well wishes, will post more updates soon!

      Delete
  18. Hi,


    I am a Singaporean and now currently in Sweden as my husband who is a Danish citizen works here. We are planning to have babies soon. I heard and read that giving birth in Sweden is free. My main concern is, i will get a residence card but i can only have benefits like health,hospitalisation and etc only if i have at least 1 year permit. Do you need to have a personal number there so you can delivery for free?
    Any idea?
    Regards,
    Liz

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Liz, yes it was free except for a very insignificant admin fee when I gave birth there. I did have a personal number because I tagged along with the hubby and he was working there for five years. I have no idea if it's a must to have a personal number, you might need to check with the Swedish authorities. But if you have any other question that I might be able to help with, do email me at summer@ahappymum.com, i will be happy to share my experiences. Take care and enjoy your stay in Sweden!

      Delete

Yoohoo, thanks so much for reading my blog and leaving your comment! I am feeling the love! (^.^)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...