thread: Cost of pregnancy and birth

  1. #1

    Mar 2009

    Cost of pregnancy and birth

    Hi guys,

    I posted this on a different thread and got no replies and still no reply from the hospital. Can anybody help? I'm just looking for a rough estimate of cost.

    Original post:

    I am living in Asia, on an expat health insurance scheme.

    My insurer will pay maternity costs up up to US$6,000. There is a hospital here that provides maternity services for expats (in English) but I'm starting to think about coming home for the birth.

    Because my insurance isn't with an Australian insurer, I don't have to worry about the gap, just the total cost. Can anyone give me an idea of the total cost of a normal delivery at a private hospital in Queensland, most likely Nambour Selangor? And the cost of worst-case scenario emergency caesar and ... well, I'm not even sure what could go wrong... but worst-case?

    I've sent an email to the Selangor but they haven't replied yet and I'm not sure if they can give me an estimate because of all the specialists involved.


  2. #2
    Registered User
    Follow Pandora On Twitter

    Jan 2005

    Your best bet would be to call rather than email them.
    There are some costs that they should know upfront like bed/room fees etc. I think for a normal uncomplicated birth you'd be looking at 5-6K Australian, whic with the US dollar the way it is wouldnt be an issue.
    Are you pregnant already? How far along?

  3. #3
    Registered User

    Jul 2005
    Rural NSW

    Yep, what Ray said... and keep in mind that if you go private you will not only have to pay for the services of an Obstetrician and hospital associated costs but you will also have to pay for most of the tests while you are pregnant. Ultrasounds cost over $100 each and you could have at least 3 of them... and there's blood tests too.

  4. #4

    Mar 2004

    I'm pretty sure that it will cost a lot more than $US 6k and that's not counting the cost of flights and accomodation in Australia (you will have to be here by 30 something weeks because airlines are funny about flying you about in the 3rd trimester).
    If you're not comfortable with the standard of healthcare in Vietnam have you thought about Bangkok? They have very good hospitals, one of my friends had a stay/operation there for gynae problems and she was really satisfied with her level of care and the price (although she ended up having to haggle it lol). She had been using Australian Drs but she's more satisfied with the Thai system.

  5. #5

    Mar 2009

    Thanks for the speedy replies.

    I'm nine and a half weeks already. I'm happy with the obst here, just starting to feel homesick for family. The doctor said I'd have to leave the country for three months if I wanted to deliver outside Vietnam. So Australia is the only option (cos I could stay with my parents and work online for as long as possible). I've had two ultrasounds already and am booked for the NT test on the 21st.

    I just wanted to get an idea of my options. We haven't announced the pregnancy yet, am going to try to leave it as long as possible because I really am not looking forward to the onslaught of "helpful advice".

  6. #6
    Registered User

    Nov 2008

    Congratulations on your pregnancy!!!

    Just to give you an idea my OB's cost are about $5,500 up front (of course if you have medicare you can claim about $3,000 of that). Then there are the private hospital costs which I'm not too sure about as my health fund covers them, but I imagine they would probably start at $200 or $300 a day, without your labour costs..;

    Good luck!

  7. #7
    Registered User

    Nov 2006

    My actual delivery cost was pretty low. I think I saw the bill and it was $400 for a vaginal delivery (one peth shot was teh only drugs). The costs to stay in hosp varies from hosp to hosp but I think it was $750 a night as a girl i knew was paying privately.My daughter stayed in the nursery for two wks and i think her bill was about $7k. It pretty hard to estimate as when you have private health you just forward on the hosp bills and don't have to pay them. I do remember thinking lucky i was covered for my daughter. I have a feeling that a c-section is $4-5k as I think the girl who was paying privately said she spent close to $10k for the ob, hosp & her c-section. Fortunatley for her her baby had no issues.

    If you have to be here for 3 months you would need to see an ob here and their fees vary siginificantly. My ob charges $2k care fee and $1k hospital fee.

    You say you are coming home and can stay with your mum. Are you still covered by medicare?? If so you could also go through the public system or may find that medicare will cover some of the cost if you go private which would make the out of pocket to be covered by your insurer less. Also you could take out family cover here to at least cover the baby if it had issues, we had to upgrade ours to family cover at least 2 mths prior to birth and it's recommended that the baby would be covered from 24wks gestation in case of preterm birth. But i am not sure if that would apply if you were only just taking out cover as well instead of upgrading.

  8. #8
    Registered User

    Oct 2008

    Congrats on your pregnancy!

    If you want to come home and deliver and dont have private cover you can just go public and I dont think you would pay anything.

    We have private cover and have our own OB who charges $2200 for the preg and birth management. That is the cost to us, I know that "self insured" couples pay around $10-12k for the same care. We are choosing to go to a public hospital as in my opinion and experience they are the only ones able to deal with babies worst case scenario - the private ones cant do baby ICU or surgery on babies (needed both with first bub).

    I would call your tertiary (major/largest with highest level baby ICU) hospital closest to your parents place. See what they offer.

    Good luck.

  9. #9
    Registered User

    Mar 2007
    outer South East Melbourne

    If you are covered by medicare (not sure if that's the case for you) perhaps you could go public. There's absolutely nothing wrong with it - you just usually have to share a room & can't choose your doctor but that wasn't an issue for me. If you do that it will cost you absolutely nothing.

  10. #10
    Registered User

    Jan 2005
    Down by the ocean

    The costs charged to my private health insurance for my births have been about $5000 - $6000. I'm going from memory as I don't have the figures in front of me though to be sure though.

    If the birth is uncomplicated then it's a straightforward charge from the hospital and a separate one from the attending OB. My OB has 2 charges depending on the birth. If there are complications or you need an epidural or a c/sect then there is anaethasist fees and fees from other Drs called in to assist. I have had 2 births that had complications where this applied. I guess you need to take into consideration the possibility of a complication and if you can afford to pay for that when working out what to do.

    Not sure if that is what you are after or if it helps with your situation. I'm in Victoria.

  11. #11

    Mar 2009

    Thanks everyone!

    I really appreciate your replies. I never thought about insurance for the baby. Now I can add that to my list of things to do!

    I am covered still covered by Medicare, so public is an option. I read on another thread that private hospitals often don't have emergency surgery facilities for newborns, so that makes public more attractive.

    I guess the big variable is complications. If there's any indication of looming problems I think I'd want to go home. I had a m/c last year and the on-call obstetrician (French) had terrible English. It made the situation even more distressing because he couldn't understand my questions.

    My only worry about going home is spending so much time away from my partner. He could maybe take a month off work. I really think it's important for him to be there at the birth and in the first few weeks.

  12. #12

    Mar 2009

    Oh, Rommy'sMummy, so sorry!

    I read the info about newborn surgyer on this thread. Sorry, sorry, sorry.

    I read a LOT of stuff on the internet late last night when I couldn't sleep.

  13. #13
    Registered User

    Oct 2008

    thanks GoingtobeinAsia. Its been rough but he is still here (needs a heart-lung transplant tho).

    Warning - be really careful of internet searches for stuff about preg or complications. It can do your head in! Be really careful surfing!

    Can you talk with other expats about their exp birthing where you are now? Problem is I guess that if you get nervous towards the end of preg and want to change your mind you cant fly out to Aust after a certain number of weeks. And you need to feel safe to birth well I think. That is why I am going to our best public hospt even though I have to drive past a few other good hospitals to get to it (and its over an hour from home). I feel really safe there as we have been going there for our DS's care for years (the ladies in the cafe know how I like my coffee too!).


  14. #14

    Mar 2009

    Hi Rommy'sMummy,

    It sounds like you are having a challenging time, coping with complications and needing a heart-lung transplant. I hope everything works out.

    Thanks for your advice about relying on the internet. I keep that in the back of my mind. I am trying to stay relaxed and let nature take its course. If something crops up, I will deal with it then.

    My obstetrician said the FV Hospital here has Western-standard birthing facilities. I just wanted to see whether going home was logistically possible. I was shocked when the doctor told me I'd have to leave the country two months before the due date and then the baby wouldn't be able to fly for a month after the birth. And... reducing the time spent outside Vietnam by taking the bus to and from Bangkok (16 hours minimum) doesn't sound like a very nice alternative!

    I also wanted to explore going home because I've visited people in Vietnamese hospitals and the places are terrible. I've also spent the night in a local "international" hospital which wasn't all that flash. I haven't been to the FV Hospital yet.

    I bumped into a lady with a 3-month old baby at the medical center this week. She said she went back to Australia for the birth but only because she had already planned to return at about that time. She said some of her friends had babies locally and had good experiences at the FV Hospital. So that information was heartening.

  15. #15
    smiles4u Guest


    Not that this is much help to you BUT might be for someone else out there ... in 2006 it was nearly $2000 to be a private patient in a public hospital in Ballarat, Victoria ... Thankfully i had health insurance and didn't have to pay it

  16. #16

    Mar 2009

    Oh help!

    I went and looked at the local hospital yesterday and I don't want to have the baby there. The staff are inflexible, the delivery room looks like a dentists surgery and I don't want to be stuck there (an hour away from our house, more if there's traffic) for the "compulsory" four nights.

    Anyone remember the costs for public and private delivery in Queensland? I think I will be able to fly home at 35 weeks so I suppose all the scans and things would be done by then. It would just be the delivery I'd need to pay for, with the help of Medicare.

    I was so upset yesterday, I thought everything would be fine if I stayed here but the hospital tour really freaked me out.

  17. #17
    Registered User
    Add NaeNae on Facebook

    Sep 2007
    South Gippsland

    oh hun

    I haven't been into our section yet. You poor thing. Well I had a very complicated first time mummy experience and TBH I still have not seen a bill from the hospitals. I went public and have no complaints.

    I am in Victoria so I am not sure what differences there are, if any, between the states here in Aust but I think considering you are already unhappy with the delivery suites amongst other things then you'll be est to fly home here and try th local hossy.

    I would call them and talk to them and not email - its very easy to overlook an email but a little more difficult when the person is on the phone.

    Best of luck hun

    Nae x

  18. #18
    Registered User

    Nov 2005
    Sunshine Coast

    Nearly 3 years ago, my health fund was charged $4k for management of labour, 5 nights in a private room & antenatal classes at Selangor. Plus, $1.2k to the Ob, plus I paid the $2k pg management fee to my Ob. Say 7% inflation per year (read that in another thread in a statement by an Ob) makes about $9k in today's money.

    Selangor has a level 2 special care nursery, and will admit babies more than 32 weeks gestation with minimal complications (obviously this'll cost more).

    The care was excellent and they are actually in favour of natural birth if you want one (rather than just saying they are), but I don't know I'd spend $9k out of my own pocket - although we might have spend that on health insurance premiums.