Finding out you are pregnant for the first, second, or even fifth time will leave you in a new situation every time. I am sure you are finding answers to hundreds of questions that are running in your brain currently. Things get even worrisome when you are living an expat life. If you are planning to carry your first pregnancy in Singapore then this article will be a one-stop solution for you.
Why am I the right one to suggest to you about what to do when you find out when you are pregnant in Singapore?
I am a foreigner in Singapore and living an expat life for the last 4 years. Just a few months back it came to my surprise that I am pregnant for the second time. The only difference is I am not in my own country.
Therefore, I thought this information would be really helpful for any expecting mother in Singapore especially those who are expats. So, whatever I am going to share with you is based on my personal experience as well as from information gathered from expecting mothers just like you and me.
So, congratulations and welcome aboard!
What to do when you found out you are pregnant in Singapore?
Just when you are expecting you are pregnant, you must have checked with a pregnancy test kit at home. After you confirm your pregnancy at home, it is always better to go for a checkup with your local General Physician or GP. This is important because:
- You may not get an immediate appointment with your preferred gynaecologist within a week or so. In Singapore, it takes at least 10-15 days to get a specialist appointment.
- He will suggest medicines such as folic acid, which is meant to be taken from the early days of pregnancy. However, folic acid is also available over the counter.
- He will give you a referral letter and book the appointment on your behalf with the gynaecologist at an extra cost
- Visiting a GP must be essential before visiting a specialist according to your insurance plan
Once, you start taking your folic acid and have booked your first appointment with your gynaecologist, there is nothing much than wait for the day.
Can you choose a preferred gynecologist for your pregnancy?
Yes, you can. Every hospital in Singapore provides a list of doctors along with their experience on their official website. You can go to their website and take a look at the list of doctors and choose a preferred doctor for your pregnancy.
For me, I was more comfortable with Indian doctors and I was surprised to find a whole list of Indian doctors at my selected hospital.
However, if you don’t have a choice and call the reception stating you are pregnant and want to book an appointment with a gynaecologist for your pregnancy, then they will recommend you, doctors. You can choose from the list or simply go with the flow.
What to expect at first gyno appointment when pregnant in Singapore?
The first gyno appointment is like bliss for an expecting mother. No matter how experienced you are, you wait for the doctor to confirm your pregnancy clinically.
Frequently asked questions by the gynecologist
While you visit your gynaecologist for the first time when pregnant, she will listen to your pregnancy story. You would go through a lot of Q&A which will mostly include:
- Is this your first pregnancy?
- Were there any complications during your previous pregnancy?
- How old are you?
- How many weeks pregnant you are currently?
- When was your last menstrual periods?
- Did you have any other forms of surgery before, and when?
If this is your first pregnancy then the first few questions will be eliminated for you. However, if you had kids before, then it’s better to take the discharge summary or other relevant medical records with you for a better understanding.
Your first Ultra Sound or USG
Your doctor will perform the first-ever ultrasound to confirm you are pregnant. This ultrasound will officially determine your pregnancy. If you are accompanied by your husband then he will also be allowed to take a look at the monitor to spot the little spots in your uterus which will eventually turn into your baby. She will also confirm the number of fetuses you are carrying.
Your doctor will suggest you take a few blood tests that are routine during your first visit. These tests normally include blood type and Rh status to check for anaemia. There will be a test for diseases like rubella and chicken pox. The blood test will also include HIV tests and genetic carrier screening.
Urine test and blood pressure
These are the two common tests you need to perform during each visit to your gynaecologist during pregnancy. The urine test will determine any kind of protein buildup, sugar level or glucose, white blood cell, blood, or bacteria in the urine.
Whereas, blood pressure and body weight will be measured to track and records your progress throughout the pregnancy.
Consultation on NIPT/Harmony test or FTS
The next time you visit, you might have to choose one of the two tests such as NIPT/ harmony or FTS. These screening tests are done to detect chromosomal abnormalities or birth defects such as Down Syndrome. Consult with your doctor and take your time to decide on this while you may also consider consulting a few family members. However, there is a stipulated time frame to do these tests so confirm the same with the doctor.
When to visit a doctor to confirm pregnancy in Singapore?
Usually, it is recommended to visit a doctor to confirm the pregnancy for around 8 weeks. This ensures that the fetus can be detected through the ultrasound during your visit. If you plan to visit earlier, at around 5 to 7 weeks you may have to return to your doctor once again a few weeks from then as the fetus may not be detected. This may leave you heartbroken or keep you bothered for a week or so. Therefore, it is always a great idea to visit your doctor to confirm pregnancy at week 8.
What is the pregnancy checkup schedule in Singapore?
During the first and second trimester, the checkup schedule is most likely to be once a month or once after every four weeks. However, in the third trimester, it may change to 2 visits per month. And at the end, the frequency of visit may go up to 3-4 visits a month.
However, if you have any underlying health conditions your checkup schedule may vary from a routine schedule.
How long does your first Obgyn appointment take?
If you consider the time you spend with the doctor, then it might take somewhere around 20 to 30 minutes. However, if you include the registration at the counter and the waiting time, then it can add up to 2 to 3 hours.
It actually depends upon the situation. When I went for my first appointment, it took me a total of 3 hours, including the travelling and waiting time. So be prepared with snacks such as biscuits and titbits as you may feel hungry while you are waiting.
What should I wear to an OB appointment?
As your doctor will perform an ultrasound scan which can be abdominal or vaginal, it is recommended to wear something comfortable and easy to remove.
Much preferably wear a skirt or dress which is easy to lift if need be. Also, make sure you are wearing comfortable shoes that could be removed and worn easily without many ties.
Do you have to take your clothes off for an ultrasound?
It depends on the type of ultrasound your gynaecologist will perform. Mostly during your first visit, you will be examined vaginally as the fetus is still tiny to be detected from the belly. Therefore, if you are wearing trousers or jeans, then you may have to remove the pair of pants. If in case you are wearing a skirt or dress then you will only be asked to remove your underwear.
However, you can be at ease as a nurse will assist you and instruct you what to do and where to place your dress if you gave to remove them. The doctor will come once you are prepared and covered with a bedsheet.
Can I take my child during my first gynecologist visit in Singapore?
Normally you could, but currently, due to COVID-19, there are certain restrictions on taking a child along with you at the doctor’s appointment in Singapore. But if you are an expat mother and have no other option than taking your child with you, then your case will definitely be considered.
In one case when both the husband and wife are going for the doctor’s visit then they are allowed to take the child. Whereas, if the mother is going along with her helper and the child then the hospital authorities might not allow you your child inside. They might ask you to leave your child along with the helper.
What is the cost for the first gynae visit for pregnancy for private patients in Singapore?
The cost varies from hospital to hospital and from doctor to doctor. However, the cost will include:
- Doctor’s consultation charges
- Ultrasound scan charges
- Urine test charges
- Blood test charges
If you plan to see a professor or a senior consultant then the consultation charge will be a little higher. Whereas if you plan to see a consultant then the charges will be comparatively less.
The ultrasound will cost around $60 to $70. The urine test will be tentative $10 to $15 and the blood test will be around $200. Whereas, the first doctor’s consultation might cost you somewhere around $ 145 to $175. This might take up the cost to $450 to $500.
So as a private patient, whichever hospital or doctor you choose, the cost of the first gynae visit for pregnancy for a private patient in Singapore will be around $450 to $500.
Delivering a baby in a foreign country can bring you many questions. The doctors and other health care providers are very helpful in Singapore and are ready to answer all your queries. Therefore, make sure to note down all your questions to make it a point during your first visit.
In my next blog, I would explain what does private and subsidized patient means in Singapore. Hope this blog has been informative and helpful. Please leave me a comment below for any further query or if you feel this was blog is helpful.