If you are an expecting new parent, getting all the pregnancy lingo & information thrown at you all at once can be overwhelming.
Don’t worry, fellas & new to-be parents alike. In this article, I’ll share my experience with our first pregnancy & highlight some important information for new parents to know:
- The typical pregnancy process
- Medical check-ups & cost estimations at each stage
- How to pick your baby clinic
- Optional tests you can do during pregnancy
- Picking a hospital to deliver the baby
I am not a medical professional & I wrote this article from the POV of a new father. However, I am confident that my layman sharing will help other new parents in similar situations.
DISCLAIMER: This article is NOT medical advice. Please consult an O&G Doctor
Let’s start by getting all the pregnancy lingos out of the way:
Pregnancy Lingo Table
When my wife got pregnant, everyone threw pregnancy lingos at me, and it was overwhelming.
Save yourself from the embarrassment.
Here, I’ve compiled all my findings in this convenient table:
|Pregnancy Lingo||Plain English|
|Antenatal care||The medical care for a woman during pregnancy.|
|Trimester||Pregnancy usually takes around 40 weeks & divided into 3 trimesters:|
1st trimester: 1 to 13 weeks
2nd trimester: 14 to 27 weeks
3rd trimester: 28 to 40 weeks
|Morning sickness||Some women will experience nausea & vomiting during pregnancy, usually most apparent during the 1st trimester (severity & duration will depend on the individual).|
|Booking visit||Your first visit to the pregnancy (O&G) doctor after being confirmed pregnant.|
|O&G Doctor||An Obstetrics & Gynaecology doctor. A doctor specializing in women’s health & pregnancies.|
|Maternity leave||Days off for the new mother after giving birth. In Malaysia, the minimum is 3 months.|
|Paternity leave||Days off for the new father after giving birth. In Malaysia, the average is 3 days.|
Alright, now we got the lingo out of the way, let’s continue with the pregnancy timeline:
The Pregnancy Timeline
Here’s what you can expect to happen throughout the course of your pregnancy:
- Checking for pregnancy at home
- Deciding on a clinic for monthly checkups
- Deciding which hospital to deliver the baby
- Start preparing baby gear
- Deliver the baby
This article will cover my experiences during pregnancy leading up to a few months before the baby’s delivery.
Alright, let’s now start with the first chapter:
Event 1: Are You Pregnant? Check with a Home Test Kit
The first sign of pregnancy is usually when the woman is not getting her period. You can investigate this suspicion by purchasing a home pregnancy test kit from any physical or online pharmacy.
The generic test kit sold at the pharmacy is around RM10. So I’d stay away from anything cheaper than RM10 that you can get online.
We bought the Clearblue brand home with the week indicator for around RM40 at Watsons:
With a 99% pregnancy accuracy rate, it’s safe to assume that this particular test kit is most likely correct.
The Clearblue kit also has a pregnancy week indicator as well, which was shown as 3+ above.
The only way to know for sure is to pay a visit to an O&G doctor (a doctor specializing in women’s health):
Event 2: Choosing Your Clinic for the Monthly Check-Ups
There will be 2 places that you need to visit during pregnancy:
- O&G Clinic: The place where they will conduct the monthly scans.
- Hospital: The place where you will deliver the baby.
The cheapest option is to do all monthly scans at the government clinics & deliver the baby at a government hospital.
But are private O&G clinics & hospitals necessarily better than government-run medical facilities?
Entirely subjective & depends on what you value.
There are generally 2 options when choosing your clinic & doctor in Malaysia:
- Klinik Kesihatan (almost free government clinic) near your home.
- Private hospital of your choice.
Each has its pros & cons, and if you’re comparing the two, here’s what to expect:
Klinik Kesihatan Pros & Cons
- Price: Expect to pay RM1 to RM5 per visit.
- For normal situations, you might not need to pay for a specialist or a consultant.
- t’s a government-run public healthcare facility. So you need to be patient & work around their schedule.
- You will be dealing with junior doctors and not consultant doctors.
- The person doing the monthly checkups & delivering your baby will most likely be a different doctor.
Google the nearest ‘klinik kesihatan’ near your home and give them a call.
Tell them that you are pregnant & want to ‘book a visit.’ They will assist you with what to do next.
My wife & I decided on the private hospital route:
Private Hospital Pros & Cons
- Less waiting time & you will be talking to a consultant, a specialist doctor with years of experience, instead of a junior doctor.
- You can choose your doctor & hospital.
- The O&G that you will be meeting each month will also deliver your baby.
- Expensive. Expect at least RM150 to RM300+++ per visit or scan.
You can pick any hospital of your choice near your home, visit their website & give them a call.
Expect a standard baby delivery to cost between RM7,000 to RM10,000.
However, if an emergency C-section surgery is required, expect this number to bump to around RM15,000++.
Here are some private hospitals’ websites to kickstart your research:
- Part City Medical Centre
- Pantai Hospitals
- KPJ Health
- Tung Shin Hospital
- Sunway Medical Hospital
After some online research & recommendations from family & friends, we found an affordable private hospital: the University Malaya Specialist Center (UMSC).
My wife gave them a call & made an appointment to book a visit.
Event 3: The Monthly Doctor Visits
Expect to visit your O&G around once every 1.5 months.
Your O&G will advise on the frequency.
The check-up at the government klinik kesihatan will cost you barely anything, but it will consume your whole day to wait for your turn.
Here’s our baby scanning experience at the UMSC private hospital:
The First Doctor Visit (Booking Visit – 8 Weeks)
We showed up at UMSC for our appointment, filled up the form, paid an RM300 deposit at the counter, and went up to the waiting room.
The cost breakdown for our first doctor visit:
- Deposit: RM300
- Actual visit cost: RM155
We waited for roughly an hour before it was our turn. I would imagine the waiting time would be longer if we went to the government-run Klinik Kesihatan.
During the first visit, the O&G doctor checked:
- My wife’s vital signs (weight, blood pressure, etc.)
- Estimate the week of pregnancy & date of delivery
- Performed an ultrasound
Fatherhood set in as soon as I saw the ultrasound. Although at 8 weeks, it doesn’t look like a baby yet, it was surreal to witness:
By measuring the overall length of the fetus, the O&G estimated that our baby was 8 weeks old & gave a prediction for our date of delivery.
She printed out the ultrasound scan images and we went home very happy & excited to share the news with our families 🙂
The Following 1.5 Monthly O&G Visits
My wife’s work perk gets her free medical pregnancy check-ups at a semi-private hospital.
So for those who do have work medical benefits, by all means, use it.
Unfortunately, due to government hospital policy during the COVID period, I was not allowed to accompany my wife during the O&G visit.
Each visit, the O&G will monitor the baby’s development & compare it to the average chart. Here are some important things that the doctor will check during these scans:
- Is it a single or twin baby?
- Fetal heart activity
- The size & shape of the head/skull
- Presence of the nasal bone
- Presence of a stomach
- Formation of the hands
- Formation of the feet
By the 18th week, you’ll be able to know the baby’s gender! But if you choose not to know tell the doctor upfront.
From the routine ultrasound scans, our baby’s development looks normal & on track. But my wife & I decided to go for the optional chromosome test to be sure:
Optional Chromosome Genetic Tests
The O&G doctor recommended an optional Non-Invasive Chromosome Check (NICC), a blood test from the pregnant mother to check for any chromosome abnormalities in the fetus.
This RM1,200 test is optional.
After a few weeks, we got our results back. The results showed no chromosome abnormalities (according to the chart).
If you take this test, it can also reveal the gender of the baby as early as 12 weeks.
Cost for the NICC test: RM1200. I withdraw money from my Wahed Invest account to pay this off.
Optional 4D Baby Scan at a Clinic
As I can’t come along during the O&G visit at my wife’s semi-private hospital, we decided to do an optional baby scan at a private clinic in Bandar Baru Bangi.
I am not entirely sure what 4D stands for, but the scans are more detailed than the regular monthly checkups. You can see the baby’s face!
They would also give you a copy of the video screen recording, although in CD format (who has a CD player anymore?).
You can check out the price list for the scans here.
Cost for the 4D Baby Scan: A very affordable RM 115
Event 4: Choosing a Hospital to Deliver Our Baby
Shop around to compare the maternity packages of different private hospitals. Don’t be fooled by the RM4,999 net delivery package advertised by most private hospitals.
In most cases, there will be add-ons such as epidural (pain medicine) that will most likely bring the total bill to around RM8,000 for most people.
Since we were happy with our O&G at UMSC, we decided to deliver our baby at the UMSC private hospital.
In the unfortunate event that a C-section has to be done, it can shoot our medical bill to around RM15,000.
Therefore, I allocated roughly RM15,000 for the total delivery cost. I saved up this amount for years in my Wahed Invest account.
The main arguments of why my wife wanted to deliver our baby at a private hospital:
- We can afford the private hospital fees
- My wife prefers our baby delivered by a consultant as opposed to Jr Doctors
- Our O&G, which has been following our baby’s development for 9 months, will be the one delivering our baby
- The husband (me) can be in the delivery room together
However, don’t look down on government hospitals. It’s a personal choice. We know doctor couples who prefer delivering their baby at a government hospital.
7 Months In – Getting Familiar with the Hospital
There will always be a possibility of an early delivery.
So at 7 months in, we scout around the delivery hospital to know where to go & what to expect during the delivery.
I’m the kind of guy that needs to plan things out, especially for something significant as my child’s birth.
So here are some questions I need answers to during my hospital visit:
|Who to call for when my wife is due?||The nurse gave us the hotline for the delivery department. That’s who I need to call when my wife goes into labor.|
|Where exactly (which lobby & tower) should I drop off my wife at the hospital?||I’ll drop off my wife at the lobby & an attendant will assist her to the delivery room. There is a wheelchair for emergencies.|
|After I drop off my wife at the lobby, where should I park the car?||The UMSC public parking lot is next to the delivery ward, but I had to drive there to get used to everything.|
|Where to find the delivery ward?||After parking, I can head over to level 3.|
|How about payment or deposit?||I will only pay a deposit (roughly around RM6,000) after my wife is admitted. However, the nurse told me not to worry about it for now.|
|What does the delivery room look like?||We talked to the nurse & she was kind enough to give us a quick tour.|
Awesome, my OCD has been satisfied, and I can visualize everything, happy days!
The Total Cost of Our Pregnancy
So here is the total cost for our pregnancy check-ups leading up to the baby’s delivery:
|Stage||What We Paid|
|1st Dr visit (8 weeks)||RM 155|
|2nd Dr visit (12 weeks)||RM 0 (work benefit)|
|3rd Dr visit (18 weeks)||RM 0 (work benefit)|
|4th Dr visit (24 weeks)||RM 0 (work benefit)|
|5th Dr visit (28 weeks)||RM 0 (work benefit)|
|6th Dr visit (32 weeks)||RM 0 (work benefit)|
|Optional Chromosome Test||RM 1,200|
|Optional 4D Scan at 4 months||RM 115|
|Total Cost||RM 1,470|
I hope the sharing of our experience in this article has been helpful.
In my upcoming article, I will write about prepping for baby gear & the baby’s delivery costs in another article.
I also tweeted about this very topic & have gotten over 1.5k retweets & many helpful responses for your reference:
Comment below to share with us your experience 🙂