Having a Baby in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia as an Expat

Published: 11 Mar at 10 AM
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Filed: Family,Malaysia

Local Expert Series: Having a Baby in Malaysia by Kimbra Naber

Having a baby in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia as an expat is quite different than having a baby in your own home country…. especially if that home country is a western one. That being said, there are some amazing advantages to giving birth in Kuala Lumpur, including low cost, western trained doctors, modern facilities, a variety of support groups, and more. The medical community and government have really stepped up their game to offer top-notch medical care with a nicely balanced blend of keeping with natural traditional medicine combined with forward thinking mindsets. All of this is available within a modern medical environment. Truly, it’s a win-win situation!

Having a Baby in Malaysia
Having a Baby in Malaysia
Since I am going through the process of having a baby in Kuala Lumpur (and my first, no less), I have been soaking up the information to excess to the point where my brain feels like its about to explode!! The benefit to you, dear readers, is that you can learn from my research, my decisions & my reviews.

There is really so much to talk about but being that I am just 23 weeks along, I obviously don’t know it all, but I want to share with you the basics of my findings thus far. Maternity must-haves, baby gear & shops, brands, and more are a whole new topic & I’ll dive into that later. For now, here are my findings on the groundwork of having a baby in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Costs & Insurance:

There are basically 3 options here.
  • The local Malaysian health insurance plans do not offer maternity or birth coverage. Yes, you heard me correctly. At first I thought this was absurd, as the insurance agent we spoke to mentioned that they will cover any complications due to the birth…makes no sense. In any case, the out of pocket cost is significantly lower than most western countries so in actuality, the local Malaysian insurance companies not offering coverage for maternity & birth is not too bad after all. That being said, the average cost of a normal vaginal birth is about $2,500 USD and for a cesarean, it’s about $5,000 USD- both still incredibly less than many western countries.
  • The other option is an international health plan. This is the most common form of health insurance for expats. 95% of all international health plans will cover maternity & birth costs, as well as any complications due to the birth. The bonus is that the majority of companies who deal with the expat community understand the trials & tribulations of being an expat and thus, the health insurance plans they offer tend to be the best, meaning the out of pocket cost is next to nothing.
  • The final option is no health insurance coverage of any kind. This is obviously the most risky but yet again, looking back at option #1, you can see that the total cost is still significantly less than having a baby in many other countries.

Hospitals in Kuala Lumpur

There are both private hospitals in Kuala Lumpur as well as government ones. I haven’t been able to find much information on the governmental ones so I will instead focus on a list of 3 of the most popular private hospitals around the Kuala Lumpur metro area. Keep in mind there are other private hospitals around town also highly touted and warrant being checked out, depending on your location and need. All three options listed below offer wonderful maternity facilities complete with both private & shared rooms as well as options for delivery- natural, assisted, and surgical. It is also important to note that due to the traffic congestion within Kuala Lumpur, most expats try to go to hospitals closest to their homes. Otherwise you may find yourself stuck in insane rush hour traffic during labor!
  • Pantai Hospital: http://www.pantai.com.my
    Pantai is located within the Pantai neighborhood, on the edge of the popular Bangsar community. Aesthetically speaking, Pantai could use a little upgrading (which is currently underway as I write this). Within the walls though, highly regarded doctors are practicing their respective trades, making Pantai Hospital a top pick. It is also where I have chosen to go.
  • Gleneagles: http://gleneagleskl.com.my
    Gleneagles is located in the Ampang neighborhood. Gleneagles is equally as popular as Pantai with the expats- it’s clean, modern, and employs top-notch doctors in their respective fields.
  • Prince Court Medical Centre: http://www.princecourt.com
    Prince Court is located within the KLCC area, thus most who live in the city center chose to utilize Prince Court for delivery. Prince Court is most widely known about town for being a “5 star facility”. It’s loosely referred to a luxury hotel with medical procedures to boot. Prince Court is where most (but not all) “medical tourism” takes place within the greater Kuala Lumpur area.

Ante/Post Natal Services in KL:

Due to the delicately balanced mix of expats and locals within Kuala Lumpur, there are a wide variety of medical services, practices, and assistance available to choose from. Unlike many western countries, Malaysia’s location within the SE Asia region makes it a perfect place to incorporate both eastern and western style medicine. All of this adds up to nothing but the best options to choose from.
  • Jenlia Maternal Services: http://jenlia2u.com/index.asp
    A Midwife centered team originally from the UK providing both antenatal and postnatal services to both locals and expats alike. They provide group and private classes to inform and prepare couples for childbirth and their new lives with baby. They also provide select post natal services aimed at getting both mom and baby on track and healthy.
  • Hampden Wellness: http://hampdenwellness.com.my/index.php
    This is a newer group formed and marketed to the expat community aimed at providing full service packages for ante and post natal care. They specialize in confinement- both diet and otherwise and there are also classes to educate and perform the growing popularity of baby massages.
  • MyBidan: https://www.facebook.com/MyBIDAN
    MyBidan was formed with the aim of providing midwife information, assistance, and resources to expectant mothers through education, awareness, and facilities. They offer both hands on support as well as guest speaking appearances.

Support Groups:

There are a plethora of support groups that have popped up in Kuala Lumpur, to the benefit of all us expats who are here living far away from our typical support groups of family, friends, and familiarity. There is literally a fit for everyone and so many ways to get connected and feel supported as you go through having a baby in a foreign country.
  • IBU Family Resource Group: http://www.ibufamily.org
    IBU was formed by a group of expats over 20 yrs ago and is still going strong and growing every year. It is run solely by expat volunteers and offers support & play groups beginning at pregnancy and continuing on after birth to grow with you and your child. They have an IBU “House” containing a library of reference books, a “pre-loved” maternity and kids shop, children’s play area, nurses room, and educational & support classes. They also publish a monthly newsletter magazine to all members as well as a Facebook group for members to ask questions and find recommendations.
  • Fit For 2: http://www.fitfor2.com.my
    Fit for 2 is an amazing place to exercise with other pregnant woman through pilates, yoga, stretching, and dancing. They also offer mommy & baby classes as well as toddler ballet classes. Their studio is connected to a small café that serves up delicious and healthy foods- from morning till night, and the space is completely kid friendly, even housing a closed off feeding and changing station at the back. Throughout the day you will find moms coming here to meet up over coffee while their kids roam around and play.
  • Kuala Lumpur Mom Swap & Shop: https://www.facebook.com/groups/KLmomsswapandshop/
    KL mom swap & shop is a closed page on Facebook that you must request permission to be a part of. It’s simply an amazing resource for both expectant and existing moms. Mom’s post items for sale as well as wanted items. It’s a fabulous way to save money by purchasing “pre-loved” maternity, feeding, baby, and toddler items.
  • La Leche Leauge Kuala Lumpur: https://www.facebook.com/pages/La-Leche-League-Kuala-Lumpur/164309356964735
  • La Leche League is pretty self-explanatory. It focuses on the promotion of breastfeeding children as opposed to bottle-feeding. They offer educational classes, personal services, and support to help answer all your questions and concerns.
    The Gentle Birthing Group Malaysia: https://www.facebook.com/GentleBirthMalaysia?fref=ts
    The Gentle Birthing Group aims at promoting natural, unassisted birth. It focuses on water birthing methods as well as other popular non-medicated or surgical ways.

As you can see, with this groundwork laid out for you, the process of having a baby in Kuala Lumpur can be without trouble and even an enjoyable process when coming from your own home country. These are just the beginnings of much more information to follow. With the above checked off, your pregnancy and birth in Malaysia can easily become one you will never forget and come to enjoy so sit back, grab some tea, and get a prenatal massage while you’re at it :)!

About the author

Local ExpertKimbra Nabers authors The International Nabers, a story of an adventurous couple chronicling their time as expats and as "citizens of the world". Originally from the USA, their first expat assignment led them to Malaysia, where they have been able to experience all of SE Asia through weekend getaways, immersing themselves in local cultures, and meeting various expats from all over the world. The International Nabers have an intense love for travel and go anytime schedule permits and are thoroughly enjoying expat life. Besides traveling, they love trying various cuisines, meeting new people, and sharing their own recommendations, trials, and tribulations with fellow expats.
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Comments » There is 1 comment

Naz wrote 10 years ago:

Hi there, Ive recently moved to KL, and am doing research about different health covers and which companies cover maternity. I came across your website and have seen that local companies don't actually offer this type of insurance. But you mentioned above that you spoke to an agent and that they will cover any complications due to the birth ? - can you tell me which agent this was? many thanks Naz

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