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Where to Give birth in Singapore: Public vs. Private Maternity Hospitals

ExpertsPost Category - ExpertsExperts - Post Category - PregnancyPregnancy

Trying to figure out where to give birth in Singapore? Check out our handy roundup to see which maternity hospitals are the best for you!

Choosing which hospital you’ll give birth at is often driven by where your OB-GYN of choice practices, and choosing an OB-GYN usually happens when you’re more concerned with the early stages of pregnancy than thinking ahead to birthing. While all maternity care in Singapore is of a very high international standard at both public and private hospitals, there are significant differences in the offerings at various hospitals, so we encourage you to carefully consider your options. As at every stage of pregnancy: ask questions, make sure you understand all the costs involved and be informed and empowered to make the best choice for you!

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The low-down on pros and cons

Pros of private hospitals

  • Smoother check-in and billing
  • More luxurious surroundings and private rooms on demand
  • Less time pressure as they’re not trying to process as many people
  • Guaranteed OB-GYN of choice
  • Amusing perks like cocktail parties, head massages and parking spots!
  • The cost difference between public and private is sometimes not as large as you might expect

Cons of private hospitals

  • More expensive
  • If there is an emergency you might need to get you or your baby transferred to a public hospital with a larger NICU or more specialist expertise
  • More OB-GYN led, slightly less active midwife support

Pros of public hospitals

  • Lower cost – you can also opt to be a private patient at a public hospital to access better grades of room and choose your OB-GYN
  • You are right where you need to be if something goes wrong in labour or after birth
  • You are more likely to have a midwife-led birth if this is what you want
  • NUH in particular is at the forefront of the natural birth movement in Singapore

Cons of public hospitals

  • Admin and wait times tend to be longer
  • Stricter visiting hours
  • Unlike private hospitals which will help to process insurance claims, with public hospitals you’ll have to handle the paperwork yourself
  • You might need to wait longer for pain relief

The Hospitals

Public Hospitals

NUH

National University Hospital (NUH)
5 Lower Kent Ridge Road, Singapore, 119074
Tel: (+65) 6772 2255
The Scoop:
NUH is the medical teaching facility of NUS, and specializes in high-risk obstetrics. 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. This makes NUH the choice for mamas of multiples or tricky pregnancies in Singapore. As well as medical excellence, NUH has what is probably the most progressive attitude towards natural birth, supported by their unique Emma Care system which means that midwives handle normal labours as far as possible without intervention. NUH allows water births and offers aromatherapy and doula pressure as a pain relief system.

What Sassy Mamas say: “I delivered both my babies at NUH, as drug-free water births with Prof. Chong. I rate NUH highly. They are one of the more progressive hospitals when it comes to maternity care. Excellent facilities, are happy to facilitate immediate skin-to-skin, breastfeeding, rooming in, etc.”
-Kirsten

See for yourself: Tours are held on the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of the month. Each tour is limited to 10 couples. Call the number above to pre-book.
Cost: $4,722 – $6,312 for a Ward A bed for two nights’ stay and normal vaginal assisted delivery (Emma Care package is extra).

Singapore General Hospital
Outram Road, Singapore 169608
Tel: (+65) 6222 3322

The Scoop:
A reliable choice without many of the bells and whistles of the other options in the little red dot. They’ve recently introduced a confinement menu, have floral-themed delivery rooms and are very supportive when it comes to skin-on-skin, breastfeeding and after-care support. This is a busy public hospital where you may not be able to get your room of choice.

What Sassy Mamas say: “I was admitted for 5 days at SGH when I delivered my bub. 

While the maternity ward rooms were old, they were comfortable and cosy. The nurses were helpful, offering advice on breastfeeding and assisting me by hand expressing colostrum for my newborn, who was in the NICU for observation.

The food was appetizing and I found myself looking forward to when meals were served. The aftercare was amazing with nurses calling me every two days to find out if I had any issues breastfeeding or if I was going through any baby blues. We loved feeling like part of a big family from when we went for our pre-natal check ups to when we left with our baby.”
– Jasmine

See for yourself:
Labour ward tours are held on Monday to Friday at 11.30am and 3pm and are included as part of antenatal classes at SGH. If you haven’t signed up for these classes you can still tour the facilities on the day of your consultation with your OB-GYN. No advanced booking is allowed.
Cost: $3,708 – $5,547 for a Ward A bed for two nights’ stay and normal vaginal assisted delivery.

delivery_suitekkh

KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH)
100 Bukit Timah Road, Singapore 229899
Tel: (+65) 6225 5554

The Scoop:
If anything (God forbid) goes wrong when baby arrives, you’d want to be at KKH, the largest public hospital in Singapore. They deliver 30-35 babies each day (so they’re kinda the pros), but that can also make for a bit of a wham, bam, thank you ma’am experience. With a dedicated perinatal team always on standby, there’s no waiting around for an emergency c-section if needed, and the 28 private delivery rooms have all the mod cons you’d expect. Lactation consultants are on hand to dispense advice.

What Sassy Mamas say: “KKH is a bit of a huge machine, so it can be hard to feel like you’re getting the most caring experience, though it really depends on your individual OB/GYN. I had a pleasant experience with Prof John Tee.”
– Jingwen

See for yourself: Take a virtual tour or go along in person every Friday at 11am (call 6394 5038 to book your spot).
Cost: $4,434 – $5,627 for a Ward A bed for two nights’ stay and normal vaginal assisted delivery.

Private Hospitals

gleneagles

Gleneagles Singapore
6A Napier Road, Singapore, 258500
Tel: (+65) 6575 7575

The Scoop: Gleneagles provides a special confinement food menu, while Parentcraft classes are available and run by midwives and lactation consultants. All rooms have Wi-Fi, TV and DVD player, private telephone, toiletries, slippers and towels provided. If you’re after the VIP treatment at Gleneagles, upgrade to a Superior Room Package (or one of their amazing suites) and receive a 15 minute complimentary head and shoulder massage, metabolic and hearing screening, as well as a range of blood tests for your baby, a celebratory cocktail party (woop woop) and a limousine ride home with your new arrival.

What Sassy Mamas say: “Overall I had a great experience at Gleneagles: pre-registration and check-in went smoothly; my room was brand new, clean, and bright; the food was surprisingly tasty; and my post-birth aftercare was outstanding, from the nurses who came by to unobtrusively check in on the baby and me, to the lactation consultant who gave me a shoulder massage and breastfeeding tips. I had some hits and misses with the nursing staff in the labour ward, but the delivery team that attended to me when push came to shove (uh, literally) was fantastic. They also completely followed my birth plan (immediate skin-to-skin, baby stayed with me throughout, no pacifier, etc.), which I really appreciated.”
– Kate (Sassy Mama Ed!)

See for yourself: You can take a tour of the maternity facilities on weekdays or Saturdays; pre-booking by calling the number above is required.

Cost: $8373 – $11,461 for a Single Room for two nights’ stay and normal vaginal assisted delivery

Mount Elizabeth Hospital

Mount Elizabeth Hospital
3 Mount Elizabeth, Singapore 228510
Tel: (+65) 6250 0000

The Scoop:
Mount E’s location next to Paragon on Orchard Road sets the luxury standard for this hospital, and you’ll never have to eat the hospital food if hubby can be persuaded to grab some yummies from there! Single rooms come with all mod cons like flat screen TV and Wi-Fi, and like Gleneagles, traditional confinement food is available to help you keep your strength up post-birth. Some fun extra perks are a parking space for one vehicle from date of baby’s birth, welcome longan or ginger tea, and a mother and baby gift set, not to mention a celebratory candlelight dinner for all mamas staying in single rooms. If you want to seriously push the boat out, upgrade to the fabulous Daffodil or Magnolia Suites. Mount E’s particular strength is the ease of checking in and dealing with admin, so at least while they’re taking all your money they do it efficiently and with a smile.

What Sassy Mamas say: I was very happy with Mount Elizabeth. From check-in to checkout the process was very easy. My little one arrived 4 weeks early and I had not registered or completed any hospital paperwork. They managed that with no issues and were very accommodating. Due to the early arrival my husband was unfortunately out of town. The nursing staff went above and beyond to be my support network while there. The head nurse even held my hand during the delivery and talked me through it!”
– Kristin K

See for yourself:
Call 6731 2000 to register for a maternity tour.

Cost: $8545 – $11,923 for a Single Room for two nights’ stay and normal vaginal assisted delivery.

mountnovena

Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital
38 Irrawaddy Road, Singapore 329563
Tel: (+65) 6250 0000

The Scoop:
This brand-spanking-new maternity ward (opened in 2014) boasts a single-room-only setup, so you’re guaranteed your privacy. You’ll get all the fab added extras of the original Mount Elizabeth on Orchard (see above), and if you upgrade to a Junior Suite you can enjoy relaxing on your outdoor terrace or entertain family members in your suite’s living room, as well as receive a free newborn hearing test for your bub.

What Sassy Mamas say: “The nurses and midwives are fantastic. Supportive and ever so kind and patient. I really appreciate the care I got during and after my natural delivery. Baby and I had skin to skin immediately after birth and they didn’t rush at all to get her cleaned up. The nurses were very attentive.”
– Christy

See for yourself: Maternity tours are conducted on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. For reservations and enquiries, please call 6933 0191.

Cost: $6,709 – $8,555 for a Single Room for two nights’ stay and normal vaginal assisted delivery

parkwayeast

Parkway East Hospital
321 Joo Chiat Place, Singapore 427990
Tel: (+65) 6377 3737

The Scoop:
Small and cosy, East Coast mamas will want to check out this option before considering schlepping elsewhere. Run by the same group as Gleneagles and Mount E, Parkway doesn’t have quite as many extra plushy perks as those other hospitals, but the rooms are newly renovated and the care is excellent.

What Sassy Mamas say: We moved to the East Coast before my daughter was born, so we decided to try out Parkway East, which was just down the street from our home. It is a small hospital with just a handful of maternity rooms and no fancy suites, but it has been recently renovated and we were pleasantly surprised by how nice it was! Completing the registration and paperwork was easy and the admin team was friendly and helpful. Overall the nurses were easy to work with and the quality of care was excellent. They listened to our requests and made sure we were as comfortable as possible during labour and recovery. The food was admittedly not great so we usually brought our own or ran downstairs to Delifrance. If I had a third child, I’d definitely go back to Parkway East.”
– Kristin B

See for yourself: From Monday to Friday at 2.30pm. Call 6340 8675 to make an appointment.

Cost: $5,762 – $6,956 for a Single Room for two nights’ stay and normal vaginal assisted delivery

Mount Alvernia Hospital
820 Thomson Road, Singapore 574623
Tel: (+65) 6347 6688

The Scoop:
We hear Dr. Lai is the OG OBGYN at Mount Alvernia if you’re looking for a natural birth. Mount A has a reputation for being very pro-breastfeeding and offering lots of support in this area, as well as being excellent for skin-to-skin. Their strict rules might raise some eyebrows (only one person is allowed in delivery room), but there is a fair amount of wiggle room if you’re prepared to negotiate. We love that their antenatal classes include a Marriage Enrichment segment to help new parents navigate through sex during and after pregnancy!

What Sassy Mamas say: “I was at Mount Alvernia and found the nurses warm and caring, and the lactation consultant was very encouraging and really helped me on my breastfeeding journey.”
– Parul

See for yourself: Monday to Friday 2.30pm, Saturdays at 10am and 12pm. Call 6347 6788 to book a tour.

Cost: $6,470 – $8,310 for a Single Room for two nights’ stay and normal vaginal assisted delivery.

thompsonmedical

Thomson Medical Centre
339 Thomson Road, Singapore 307677
Tel: (+65) 6250 2222

The Scoop: Mixed reviews reign when it comes to feedback on Thomson Medical Centre – some people loved their experiences, others were not fans. The lactation consultant service in particular seems to need some improvement. If you’re bringing in your own doula and expecting a very natural birth, you’re likely to find success here. Special confinement foods are offered on the menu.

What Sassy Mamas say: “I chose Thomson because it was small. Everything you need from doctors and bloodwork, to food and pharmacy is convenient and close by when you need it. I also loved that the nurses at Thomson left us to bond with our baby for a long time. Those quiet moments with our new little one were absolute bliss!”
– Jennifer

See for yourself: Mondays and Fridays at 10am and 2.30pm, Saturdays 10am and 12pm. Book your spot by calling 6358 0055.

Cost: $5,993 – $7,980 for a Single Room for two nights’ stay and normal vaginal assisted delivery.

raffles

Raffles Hospital
585 North Bridge Road, Singapore 188770
Tel: (+65) 6311 1111

The Scoop: Raffles only work with their own doctors (this includes paediatricians), and their doctors don’t practise elsewhere. We hear rave reviews for head lactation consultant Helen who is a whizz with helping to get your breastfeeding journey started.

What Sassy Mamas say: “Rooms are always clean, food was tasty by hospital standards and the staff are great. Request a room not right next to the nursing station if possible as it gets a little noisy.”
– Mariana

See for yourself: No need to book an appointment – just join the tour (which starts from the Business Office at Level 8) at 11.30am on Wednesdays or Mondays at 4pm.

Cost: $8,080 – $11,276 for a Single Room for two nights’ stay and normal vaginal assisted delivery.

Costs for delivery are quoted from the MOH website (which you should check for updates to these costs), and the ranges are based on the difference between a 50th percentile bill up to a 90th percentile bill.

Lead image sourced via Shutterstock, image #1 sourced via Shutterstock 

Join the conversation

  • Elisia Phua

    It’s not quite true to say that public hospitals don’t handle insurance claims as well as private hospitals. Case in point, my father-in-law was hospitalised in Parkway East and SGH before. With SGH, the Letter of Guarantee for NTUC Income is automatically provided. Not so with Parkway East. Also, SGH does automatically submit the bill for insurance claim.

    I gave birth at SGH, and it was definitely my obstetrician of choice that delivered her. So not quite true about the mid wife-led delivery at public hospitals too.

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