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Move to Singapore and pregnant?

(31 Posts)
Esssss Tue 14-Jul-15 09:17:31

Looking for some advice/others experiences. Dh has a job interview in Singapore and has a good chance of getting it. In theory we would be well up for the move as its a great opportunity for him and could be a great adventure for us. However a major stumbling block may be that I am pregnant with my 2nd (ds is not yet 2), due in January and if dh got the job he would need to start before the end of the year.
So, from doing a bit of research, I don't think my pregnancy would be covered by medical insurance as its a "pre existing condition". How expensive is paying for private maternity services. Has anyone been in a similar situation?
I'm quite nervous about the idea of looking after a two year old and a newborn without family or friends nearby. Is it easy and relatively cheap to get help ie nanny/childminder etc.
I'd love to hear about others experiences! Thanks

LassieKillsChickens Tue 14-Jul-15 09:42:21

Hi there. A friend I met in Sing had a baby there, and toddlers too. I will ask her to stop by.

Esssss Tue 14-Jul-15 09:59:08

Thank you!

5446 Tue 14-Jul-15 10:03:13

I used to live in Singapore and had a number of friends who had babies there. Unfortunately they took out pregnancy cover before they got pregnant so wouldn't be able to help with that.

I do think it depends which hospitals you choose. Gleneagles and Mount Elizabeth are very expensive. Most hospitals offer packages. I think I have heard an average of about $3000-3500 for a couple of nights stay and delivery.

My friends spoke very highly of Raffles Hospital. Most deliveries are doctor-led rather than midwife-led, although KK does have midwives and two of my friends also used doulas.

Very easy to get childcare. Maternity leave is very short in Singapore and most of my friends were back at work within 3-4 months. It is very common to have a live-in helper, who helps to cook, clean, shop and provide childcare for around $600 per month.

There are also lots of meet up groups for expats with young children. If you are on Facebook, have a look on East Coast Mum's Support Group as well as Singapore Real Expat Wives. My friend had her baby in February and is part of 2015 new mum's Singapore group.

Esssss Tue 14-Jul-15 10:22:09

Thank you 5446, I have a horrible feeling we won't be able to afford private maternity care so if dh gets the job I might end up staying in the UK to have the baby and then travelling over to join him later although that would be pretty rubbish.

LassieKillsChickens Tue 14-Jul-15 10:28:48

Could you negotiate maternity cover as part of your DH's package? How keen are they that he goes?

Saltedcaramellavacake Tue 14-Jul-15 10:39:42

Hi, and thanks, Lassie! I had a baby here in 2011 after moving from London at 6 months pregnant. I had a two year old and 3 year old then too. My husband's firm got Cigna cover for me to cover the delivery even though I was pregnant before we came but it is expensive. It's also expensive to have a baby and pay yourself - there's no free care here at all. You would need to budget about $6000 for a standard delivery in a public hospital and upwards of $10,000 for private.
The other thing to think about is if your baby is born here in SG, he or she will only be British by descent and then can't pass the citizenship on to their own kids unless their own children are born in the UK.
Other than that, having kids here is easy and help is inexpensive (but unqualified - you don't generally find British nannies here/qualified caregivers). The birth bit can be a bit lonely if you've just arrived - no family or friends arriving with well wishes so if you can fly family out to look after your toddler and make a fuss of you and the new baby that is helpful. Good luck!

5446 Tue 14-Jul-15 10:43:02

Is he moving over there within his existing company or is it a completely new company he is joining? That could definitely have an impact on his bargaining power.

No harm in asking if he gets the job regarding maternity cover or even if he would be able to work remotely for a couple of weeks when the baby is born.

I asked a friend and she says she knows of someone within her antenatal classes in a similar situation who moved to Singapore at 7 months pregnant and didn't bother with pregnancy coverage. She was lucky and had a straightforward delivery with no complications and paid between $3500-4000. I don't know whether it is worth taking the risk though.

Esssss Tue 14-Jul-15 12:08:24

Thanks for the advice, it's a brand new company and if he got the job we'd definitely be negotiating a solid package so I'll research Cigna insurance, that's really helpful. We might be getting ahead of ourselves but with such a big potential move happening quite quickly we want to be armed with info! I should hopefully still get maternity pay from my work here in the UK (I hope!)
So many things to think about!!!

easterlywinds Tue 14-Jul-15 12:14:22

As salted says, look at the passport and citizenship rules. I have a friend who is pregnant in Singapore at the moment - her sister is very concerned because of a rule about boys born in Singapore have to do national service. I don't know if this is because her sister generally does not make good choices about these things, or if my friend has the wrong information. Maybe someone can clarify this.

5446 Tue 14-Jul-15 12:40:02

You don't need to worry about national service unless you plan on taking permanent residency there and staying for an extended period of time.

Both you and your DCs will be on a Long Term Visit Pass (LTVP) and Dependent's Pass (DP) linked to your DH's Employment Pass (EP).

Regarding the citizenship, I thought that if you were to return to the UK and live there with the child for a minimum of three years, you could then register the child as a British citizen, and they would be able to pass on citizenship to their children?

Onedegreenorth Tue 14-Jul-15 13:08:24

I had both my dc in Singapore in 2008 and 2011 both paid for privately as we didn't have insurance. Both straightforward deliveries and it cost $4-5k at Mt Elizabeth. NUH and KK are worth looking at as cheaper options. I had one friend who moved in a similar situation to you who ended up going back to the UK to give birth but that was due to the passport issue as both she and her husband were born overseas

adsab8222 Tue 14-Jul-15 20:16:47

Ah sorry nothing to add about the birth etc .. but there is some absolute rubbish being written in this thread about citizenship etc.

Your child , even if born in Singapore will have no issues getting a british passport as soon as you like - ditto to one day passing that onto their children if necessary. Nothing to worry about there ! :-)

5446 Tue 14-Jul-15 20:31:25

Sorry to disrupt the thread!

Adsab, have you got more information regarding that? I am British by birth whereas DP is Australian. I have always been told that if we were to have children born outside of the UK, then they would be British by descent and would not be able to pass this onto their children (ie my grandchildren).

The only way to do this would be to have them live in the UK for at least three years.

Have I been told completely wrong information?

chloeb2002 Tue 14-Jul-15 21:56:09

Not totally wrong.. It depends on where you are normally resident. In this case the person will be temp res in Singapore, perm res UK. So therefore her dc are eligible for normal UK citizenship rules. Can pass down to further kids.
If you are say resident / citizen of Australia then your dc can have UK citizenship but not pass it on unless you returned to the UK to live. (Permanently)
That's as I understand it. It doesn't affect us as we are Aus citizens and quite happy to stay here. wink
Dc can have a passport. Their kids get ancestor visas to come and visit or work.

Saltedcaramellavacake Wed 15-Jul-15 01:59:47

Here are the rules, OP and 5446. It's not as simple as Adsab says. My daughters were born in the UK to my husband who is British by descent (British father, but my husband was born abroad). The girls have British citizenship "otherwise than by descent". They can pass their citizenship down to their children wherever their children are born. My son was born in Singapore and didn't get British citizenship through his Dad because citizenship by descent can only be passed down to one generation born outside the UK. We might be able to alter that by residence if we moved back to the UK.

mrsplum2015 Wed 15-Jul-15 03:11:55

You will still get your smp if you work, or take annual leave, up until 26 weeks iirc. You can ask for it to be paid as a lump sum. Not sure about omp.

You do need your mat b1 from your mw so need to make sure they give you that before you go.

Also just make sure you are prepared for any issues if you are planning to fly v late in pregnancy. What would happen if you were booked to travel at 36 weeks and you had a medical issue that prevented the flight, you need to have a back up plan.

I have a friend that did this and she insisted they were moved by 24 weeks to ensure she didn't get stranded in UK! They were moving somewhere else though so not sure about the health cover, something to write into your contract for the employer to cover i would think.

Laptopwieldingharpy Wed 15-Jul-15 09:34:15

Here is a helpfull list

Go to the hospital websites and look up their mayernity fees.
Just remember to add private ob-gyn fees for routine care up to delivery and after, possible anesthesist etc, etc....
The most popular Drs do get booked up months in advance so do your research early and contact them as soon as you arrive.
Baby will automatically be included in any existing policy from birth.

Public hospitals are great too but very medicalised and completely Dr led. No midwife led care, no birthing pools or any such thing

Laptopwieldingharpy Wed 15-Jul-15 09:39:40

official link with price bands by hospital from MOH

TerrorAustralis Wed 15-Jul-15 11:14:58

Laptop that's not strictly true. NUH offer Emmacare which is midwife-led, but you still need to have an obstetrician. NUH also offer water births, and I believe Thomson do too.

OP if you are on Facebook, join the group Stork's Nest Singapore. It's a goldmine of helpful information about pregnancy, birth and babies.

Laptopwieldingharpy Wed 15-Jul-15 14:13:36

Thanks for the update terror
Left Sg 5 years ago! Good to hear. Thompson was the only one that offered it at the time.
That said, there are a few great progressive ob-gyns around. Ours was fantastic. She left me alone to do as i pleased and only very minimally intervened and made sure the nurses/midwifes did not interfere too much either.

Laptopwieldingharpy Wed 15-Jul-15 14:16:18

Help is plentiful and you should really consider a live in as you transition into a new city, new house, addition to the family. She'll take the edge off. It really is the norm for young families.

Esssss Wed 15-Jul-15 19:01:22

This is so helpful, thanks all so much. I have to admit, I'm a bit off giving birth over there now because of the costs. Realistically it might just be a better option to give birth in the UK and come over after. I am not British but my husband is so I'm worried about the citizenship thing too. If he got the job it would probably be for around 3 years so I want to make life as easy as possible. I feel a bit uncomfortable with the idea of "help" but accept it would probably be a huge asset at the beginning. I will join those Facebook groups.

Mumonthemove1 Tue 21-Jul-15 15:20:37

Hi there! I am in a similar situation to yours, Essss. Due to have my second in Jan and getting ready to follow my DH to Singapore. I do want to make it there as soon as I start maternity leave in Nov and give birth there (not too bothered about the citizenship thing).

I have a few questions of my own please and sorry to temporarily hijack the thread.

- Have you ever been left out of school / nursery options given the waiting lists are long? What happens then? We have put our eldest's name to a few schools but Id love to know the worst case scenario just in case.

- Can you "book" a doctor/midwife/gynecologist from the UK when you plan to arrive there quite late in the pregnancy? I plan to turn up around 30 weeks with all my NHS papers to date but not sure where I would start. Im reading here that it is best to get hold of a doc sooner but how practically doable is it when you are still out here in the UK?

- For folks who are already out there or considering going there, do you get an impression that the idea of expat packages is scaling down, e.g. they offer either relocation or schooling or accommodation but not all options?

- With regard to accommodation, people often say you can commute by taxi. Are they talking about drop off and collect child from school by taxi and get around by taxi? It sounds like a lot of cash! Is this what people really do if they don't have a car or convenient bus / mrt stops? I hear people even take taxis to get to the mrt. Just sounds excessive but I have never lived in real heat either smile

- Do you recommend packing winter blankets and other usual winter gear? We plan to take winter clothing in case we do winter hols from there but really don't know what to do with warm blankets, extra rugs, etc.

Many many thanks to all in advance. This is an invaluable resource and Im pleased that there are so many mums who are or have been in a similar situation and are willing to share their experiences. X

Saltedcaramellavacake Tue 21-Jul-15 15:37:12

Mumonthemove, there are lots of nursery options here. If you don't get straight into the school you want, you can easily put your child into a preschool and wait for an opening. Most options are costly, though.
I booked my doctor before moving from the UK. Do your research online to find someone you like, use your insurers list of recommended doctors or ask on one of the FB groups like Storks Nest Singapore and make contact by email to set up an appointment. Don't forget you need to pay for all these visits, scans, medicines, blood work etc unless you have insurance.
There are still full expat packages but more and more are scaled down or local - it really depends how in demand your skills are and what's the usual in your industry. Singapore isn't a hardship posting, so many companies don't have to entice people to come. We had a full package for four years but have not transitioned to local. Try to get as much covered as you can because it is expensive to live here, especially schooling.
People do commute by taxi as cars are expensive (taxis are cheap). They're hard to get if its raining or change of shift and they're not fitted with car seats. I don't like buses as you have to fold your buggy to get on but the MRT is great. Live near one if you don't plan to splurge on a car.
Winter clothes are useful for winter holidays but you won't need heavy blankets etc. in Singapore unless you like to sleep with the Aircon on very high (but then your electricity bill will be eyewateringly high! ).

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