Financial Planning | Personal Finance | Article
What Are the Costs of Having a Baby in Singapore?
by Sophia | 22 Aug 2019 | 8 mins read
Caught a whiff of baby fever, or just striving towards getting a World’s Best Parent mug one day? Planning for a cute family expansion is an exciting decision either way, but before jumping into it, there are costs and expenses to consider prior to the lifelong job of parenthood. We all know – that little bundle of joy won’t be cheap. So what are the costs of having a baby in Singapore?
Here’s what to expect on the road to baby delivery and one’s first year as a proud parent.
From day one till one’s delivery date, couples should expect three smooth trimesters. But each trimester will come mandatory prenatal checks that allow couples to keep track of their baby’s growth in the womb. The first trimester, especially, is crucial as pregnancies during this time are at risk of miscarriage.
The first trimester usually constitutes at least one, and up to two, prenatal checkups. Each checkup usually consists of an ultrasound scan.
|First Checkup||From $70||From $250|
Additional checks on the baby’s health. Some common ones are the OSCAR and Harmony tests, both test for down syndrome. Oscar has a 90% accuracy rate, while Harmony’s is 99% and can check for other complications, these tests are optional.
|OSCAR||From $170||From $310|
|Harmony||From $475||From $850|
After successfully passing the first trimester, private gynaecologists will offer couples prenatal packages as the second trimester is about to begin.
These packages allow couples to fully access a gynae’s services for the rest of their pregnancy till delivery. Other than reduced wait times, the benefit of having a private gynaecologist is that they will be with mothers every step of the way, from prenatal checks to delivery.
|Prenatal Package||From $550*||Varies widely from $1,000|
*There are no packages offered for subsidised public hospitals, instead, subsidised consultation fees will be charged per session. Generally, there are 12 prenatal checkups over the three trimesters, 2 ultrasound scans and 1 detailed scan. These prices are estimated from from reports from Singapore Motherhood Forum
Do note that these pre-delivery checks are MediSave claimable, up to $900 in total. For pre-delivery charges, one can claim them using bills incurred to the hospital where their baby was delivered. The hospital will then submit the bills to CPF, after which claims will be processed.
There’s more to the costs of having a baby than just the regular scans and checks. There is also maternity insurance, where mothers and their babies are covered for the following events:
- Pregnancy complications
- Illnesses for infants
- Hospital care benefit in the case of premature birth
- Death benefits for mother and child
Premiums are just a one-time payment of $500 to $700, and the sum assured is pegged at $5,000. This option could bring a sense of security to couples who are expecting for the first time, or to those who simply don’t wish to take a chance.
According to common insurers in Singapore, expectant mothers need to be a minimum of 16 weeks pregnant before they can apply for maternity insurance.
A caveat here is that in Singapore, medical care and technology are of high quality, and infant mortality rates are quite low. So this is not mandatory, but is an available option for those who want an extra layer of security.
The day is here, and everyone’s excited out of their minds. Yet, one should be prepared for the hospital costs when it’s time to deliver that baby. Here are the average costs of deliveries at private and public hospitals, based on historical data from the Ministry of Health:
|Hospitalisation Fees on Average|
|Normal Birth||Assisted Birth||C-Sec|
If these costs look intimidating, remember that Singaporeans are able to utilise MediSave to offset out-of-pocket costs. MediSave claims can be sufficient to cover the cost of subsidised government wards (C and B2).
|Normal Birth||$1,650 – $2100|
|Assisted Birth||$2,150 – $2,600|
|C-Sec||$3,400 – $3,950|
*Estimates based upon MediSave Maternity Package and average hospital stay of 2-3 days for vaginal birth, and 3-4 days for C-section procedures.
MediSave for Assisted Conception Procedures
For couples struggling to conceive, MediSave can be used to offset the costs incurred from Assisted Conception Procedures (ACP) that include assisted reproduction technology. As there are multiple treatment cycles to go through, whether it’s for IVF or intrauterine insemination (IUI), couples can withdraw the following:
|First Cycle||Up to $6,000|
|Third and Subsequent Cycles||$4,000|
|Maximum Lifetime Withdrawal Limit||$15,000 per patient|
Baby’s First Year
This is where the baby’s life begins – and that comes with a set of needs to be fulfilled, much like our own. So how much will it cost, in total, for a baby’s first year? Here are a few different categories of expenses one should anticipate in their first year of parenthood.
In this category, parents will be looking at costs for diapers, formula milk, baby food, and other items like baby wipes and soap. To get a better idea of average costs, we looked up different brands and items to get a feel of how much one would spend on a baby.
|Duration||Diapers||Formula Milk||Baby Food|
|Monthly||$45||$90 to $170||$30 to $50|
|Yearly||$540||$1,080 to $2,040||$360 to $600|
These expenses include buying the following in response to a baby’s arrival:
- Strollers or prams
- Baby car seats
- Toys and furniture for the baby room
Optional childcare expenses
For busy, working couples, infant care may be a necessity and this usually constitutes the bulk of the costs of child-raising in the first year. This means placing one’s baby in the care of a nanny, a domestic helper, a family member, or an infant care centre. Here’s the breakdown of costs for each option, for couples who don’t wish to halve the household income:
|Confinement Nanny (Usually only for the first month)||$2,800 to $4,000/month|
|Nanny||$500 to $1,800/month|
|Infant Care Centres||$1,300/month*|
|Family Members or Parents||Up to one’s discretion|
*Childcare subsidies can be used to defray Infant Care Centre costs, and are outlined below, find out how much you are eligible for.
Basic Subsidy for Non-Working Mothers
- $150/month in subsidies if they enroll their child in an eligible ECDA-licensed infantcare center.
- Child enrolled in an eligible ECDA-licensed infantcare center.
Basic Subsidy for Working Mothers
- $600/month in subsidies
- Child enrolled in an eligible ECDA-licensed infantcare center.
Additional Childcare Subsidy (For Mothers or Single Fathers)
- An additional $540 atop basic subsidies
- Work at least 56 hours per month
- Household income below $7,500 (increased to $12,000 by 2020) per month.
- Eligible ECDA-licensed infantcare center.
In the first year of growth, young parents will likely want to keep track of their infant’s growth at various stages and ensure that everything is smooth-sailing, health-wise. Here are the typical costs one will incur, as a result:
Pediatrician visits, usually held every three months, beginning from a baby’s first full month (a total of 5 visits).
- First visits are usually more costly than subsequent visits;
- Cost: $80 to $150, depending on which medical centre one visits
Vaccinations. These are mandatory.
- Cost: $1,000 or more*
*For first-time parents, vaccinations for babies are free at local polyclinics, excluding optional vaccinations apart from the compulsory ones. Consultations, medicine, and other vaccinations can be paid for using the Child Development Account or MediSave.
How to Lower These Costs
If these medical costs are intimidating to look at, it’s a good time to bring up government grants and packages available that can help offset the cost and upfront cash costs of having a baby. Here are three main options young parents can freely choose from:
Upon a baby’s birth as a Singapore Citizen, and following its birth registration, a MediSave account will be created in their name automatically, along with a deposit of $4,000 in grant money. As mentioned, this money can be used to pay off healthcare expenses such as MediShield Life premiums, vaccinations, hospitalisation, and outpatient treatments.
From birth, a Singaporean newborn will be insured under MediShield Life. CPF will inform parents with coverage details, within a month of coverage starting.
As part of its plan to encourage more babies, the government has bestowed the Baby Bonus to help defray the costs of having a baby in Singapore. Woo, money.
Formally known as the Child Development Co-Savings Scheme, the Baby Bonus payout involves the following:
|Cash Gift||$8,000 to $10,000||Credited directly into bank account
Parents must register for it (8 weeks before birth)
|CDA First Step||$3,000||Additional government grant|
|Dollar-for-Dollar Matching||Up to $15,000 (First 2 children $3,000)||For every $1 in the CDA, the government will match it with another $1, until age 12|
|Total Baby Bonus (First Child)||$14,000|
For a couple’s first child, they can expect to receive up to $14,000 from the Baby Bonus scheme alone. Of course, the more kids a couple has, the more they receive, so having a big family in Singapore might just pay off.
Raising a baby can be a very memorable time of one’s life – provided one is adequately prepared for the financial costs of having a baby. And these expenses will never quite end, but instead grow as one’s child grows older.
With education and other future needs on the horizon, parenthood is a lifelong job that requires a measure of responsibility and foresight, so one doesn’t end up neglecting their child. And that’s really all a kid can ask for.