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Sunday, 27 September 2020

Born In Singapore: Birth Without Doctor, During A Pandemic

Hi everyone, I have given birth in KK Hospital with my Singapore born Singaporean husband in the delivery ward with me despite the coronavirus :)

I gave birth to my first child less than one and a half years ago: https://huihui247.blogspot.com/2019/06/born-in-singapore-birth-without-doctor.html

For both deliveries, I didn't have a doctor and I didn't have any epidural. During my first delivery, I entered the delivery ward and I was breastfeeding in less than an hour. In my second delivery, I pushed for half the duration that I did in my first delivery. I'm thankful that I survived both experiences without epidural.

It was last reported that in 2014, KKH's Department of Women's Anaesthesia administered about 5,000 labour epidurals. Epidural is injected into the epidural space of the spinal cord to relieve pain during childbirth. Women during childbirth often have to bear the repeated needle jabs while receiving spinal anaesthesia and risk complications such as nerve injury. https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/health/kkh-testing-new-way-to-reduce-pain-in-childbirth

Due to the coronavirus, there is no more B2+ rooms, only A and B1 for the unsubsidised rooms, and B2 and C for the subsidised rooms. In my first delivery, I was told that the delivery suite has a fixed first four hours charge, and if I don't give birth within four hours, it will be an hourly charge. In my second delivery, I was told that they've removed the previous charging system, it's now a fixed charge for usage of the delivery suite regardless of duration, which is about four times more expensive.

Perhaps this is why there were 25,434 marriages last year, about 6 per cent lower than the 27,007 couples who said “I do” in 2018? Significantly fewer couples tied the knot last year, while the number of those ending their marriage was the highest in at least 20 years. In fact, the number of couples who married last year was the lowest since 2010, when 24,363 couples registered their marriages. Meanwhile, 7,623 couples divorced or annulled their marriages last year, up by about 4 per cent from the 7,344 couples who went separate ways in 2018. https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/number-of-marriages-registered-continues-to-decline-more-couples-divorced-in-2019

The Report on Registration of Births and Deaths 2019 said 39,279 births were registered last year, an increase of 0.6 per cent from 2018. The truth is, Singapore's total fertility rate dipped from 1.16 in 2017 to 1.14 last year. Even though the total number of births increased, the fertility rate did not increase. To make matters worse, the median age of resident live births for first-time mothers inched up from 30.6 in 2018 to 30.8 years last year. https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/number-of-births-edges-up-after-8-year-low-in-2018

Just like my first pregnancy, I was at the hospital the day before giving birth, I went back home and down to the hospital again just to deliver my children. My water bag didn't burst for both pregnancies even though I was dilated, having contractions and in labour. It's possible to give birth to babies fully intact with the placenta without the water bag breaking and it's called "En Caul Birth".

I didn't stop breastfeeding since the day I gave birth to my first child. I'm grateful to have the ability to breastfeed my child for more than a year despite my pregnancy, travelling etc. At least once in the past year, one in 10 Singaporean households did not have or was unsure of having access to enough food that was nutritious. And at least once a month, two out of five of these households experienced this.

I'm glad that we have survived the past years as a family :) I'm thankful to the people who came down to the hospital to visit us, the people who are concerned about our well-being etc, hope your family stay safe during this pandemic!