Pregnancy and childbirth in Indonesia

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Updated 2022-09-06 15:17

If you are about to have a baby in Indonesia, you should be aware that the medical services available to pregnant women and young mothers are typically of poor quality, especially when compared to those available in neighboring countries such as Malaysia or Singapore.

According to statistics, virtually every pregnant woman in Indonesia receives prenatal care. Since universal health coverage was introduced in the country a few years ago, everyone living and working in Indonesia is indeed entitled to free medical care. However, this is still far from being the case when it comes to postnatal care, which is almost non-existent in Indonesia. Actually, the country has one of the world's lowest ratings in terms of postnatal care.

Furthermore, the infant mortality rate remains worryingly high in Indonesia, despite many efforts by the authorities to curb this phenomenon. In 2009, there were approximately 29 deaths of children under 5 years of age for every 1000 births. Thanks to the measures taken by the government, this rate has successfully gone down to 17.11 deaths per 1,000 births in 2020. Nevertheless, this remains a high figure compared to other countries in Southeast Asia.

Since Indonesia's public health system is not up to international standards, most expatriates prefer to seek out private healthcare. Fortunately, there are more private health institutions than public ones throughout the archipelago. Therefore, you should not have much trouble finding a clinic near your home unless you live in a remote area.

Private clinics in Indonesia tend to offer superior prenatal and postnatal care when compared to public hospitals. However, their costs can be quite high, hence the need to be covered by a good international health insurance. It should be noted that it is mandatory for expatriates in Indonesia to take out health insurance other than the universal medical coverage offered by the government.

Finally, be aware that many expatriates choose to use the services of an independent midwife to ensure the follow-up of the mother and baby before and after the delivery, given that the medical institutions in the country lack such services.

Giving birth in Indonesia

There is a good chance that you will give birth to your child by cesarean section if you have to deliver in Indonesia. Cesarean sections are considered safer by local doctors than natural childbirth. However, if you only want a C-section in an extreme emergency, be sure to tell your gynecologist and be clear about it.

Regarding epidurals, you should know that most Indonesian hospitals and clinics do not have a 24/7 anesthesiologist service. Therefore, you may have to wait for the anesthesiologist to arrive in order to receive your epidural, should you need to deliver outside of their duty hours. Therefore, be sure to insist on calling the anesthesiologist as soon as you arrive at the hospital.

Labor monitoring is rarely of high quality. Most midwives are culturally reluctant to perform a vaginal touch to establish the degree of cervical dilation.

Pregnancy and childbirth costs in Indonesia

An uncomplicated delivery without a cesarean section will cost around US$70 in Indonesia, or just over one million IDR. This is $20 more than the average Indonesian salary. If a C-section is necessary, expect to pay 10 times this price: about $700, the equivalent of a full year's salary for the average Indonesian.

The costs for maternity are also relatively expensive in the country. As a result, post-natal care is almost nonexistent in the country and some private institutions have turned this lack of care into an opportunity to generate their income through high-quality postnatal care for expatriates. This is, for instance, the case of the Luxury Postpartum Care Center or The Anjea Way.

Such services are excellent, but they are very expensive and quite special. Be advised that the institutions involved are rather rare and are not accessible everywhere. You have more chances in areas where most expats live in Indonesia, like in Jakarta or Bali.

Home-based maternity in Indonesia

Rarer still, are firms that offer home-based maternity services in Indonesia. They developed during the Covid-19 epidemic in Indonesia as a means to keep moms and babies safe from risky travel. Although a promising new field, there are only a few companies in the sector so far. The most prominent one in Indonesia at the moment is Mommy Mansion.

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.