Find out what your options are when the time comes for the birth of the baby…
Women who are foreign residents and decide to have pre-natal care in Indonesia usually choose Jakarta because it offers the most choice in specialised medical treatment, including medical emergencies. In Bali, pre-natal care is also readily available in urban areas - generally through private health providers.
In most cases, foreign women who choose to give birth in Indonesia have their baby in a private clinic or hospital. Fees are paid either by the parents or through their health insurance policy.
Home births are legal in Indonesia, and many women have home births in both urban and rural areas. A foreign woman who chooses this option needs to find a good midwife and make appropriate arrangements with a doctor in the event of an emergency.
Hospital births in urban areas
Once a woman chooses a doctor, she will give birth in the hospital where that doctor practises. Foreign residents usually choose a hospital first, and then choose a doctor who is recommended from that hospital. A lot of concerns about giving birth in Indonesia focus on the quality of hospital care, so questions about the best hospital are often more frequent than those about the best doctor.
When choosing a hospital in an urban area, it is suggested to clarify whether emergency facilities such as neo-natal intensive care are available, if the father is allowed to be present at the birth, and which procedures the hospital uses for births.
Most international clinics are located in urban areas and are foreign owned. Since only Indonesian nationals can practise medicine in Indonesia, foreign doctors are consultants only.
Indonesian doctors who practise in international clinics are required to be able to speak English.
Finding an English-speaking doctor
Outside of international clinics, Bali and Jakarta, it can be difficult to find an obstetrician or gynaecologist who also speaks English.
Word of mouth and consulates are often the most useful ways of finding referrals. Another method is to go to a hospital and ask to meet those doctors who speak English. Telemedicine appointments, done remotely by phone or internet, are also an option for consultations with foreign doctors.
Having a baby in a rural area
There are three levels of health centres in rural areas:
- Village level - where general medical care is available
- Sub-district level - where specialised or medical emergency care is available
- District level - where specialised or medical emergency care is available
A foreign woman who chooses to have a baby in a rural area has to rely on the following services.
- Integrated Health Services: community health centre overseen by the head of the village (Kelurahan). Central to family planning and health services, it is managed and organised by village residents with volunteer staff. Technical support is given by professional health workers.
- Village Birth Centre: community-based with help from government and local funds. It provides maternal and child health, family planning, and other health services, for example, midwives. It cannot treat emergencies or referrals. There is usually at least one midwife, but access to a doctor is limited
- Maternity House: better-equipped, with more staff than a Village Birth Centre; usually found in sub-districts. It should always have one doctor and four nurses on duty. Facilities include an examination room, delivery room, and recovery/post-partum room (two beds each for mothers and babies). It also has a simple laboratory, medicine, means for sterilisation, doctors, midwives, nurses on call, a waiting room, a prayer room, means to store and clean hospital linen, a bathroom and toilet, kitchen and warehouse
- Puskesmas Poned - Pelayan Obstetri Neonatal Dasar: A health centre and clinic capable of handling obstetric neonatal care. Usually they are found in sub-districts, but if not, then a patient has to travel to a district
Procedures such as Caesarian sections are routinely performed in rural areas. A woman who needs more serious surgery is usually referred to an urban hospital.
Midwives play a central role in having a baby in Indonesia and are the cornerstone of maternal care for millions of pregnant women living in rural areas.
Many Indonesian women still use midwives and prefer home births. Midwives also work in clinics and must be licenced in order to work legally. When a woman is in labour, a midwife has to inform the woman's doctor and ensure that the doctor can be reached if a problem arises. A midwife must also ensure there is a way to transport a mother to an emergency or examination room if needed.
Midwives are not evenly available across Indonesia and their professional skills vary.
Most hospitals routinely have a mother and baby stay in hospital for two to three days, and for longer in the event of a caesarean.
The Indonesian Ministry of Health mandates the following vaccinations for babies:
- Birth: Hepatitis B
- Month 1: Tuberculosis (BCG); Polio
- Month 2: Diptheria, Pertussis, Tetanus (DPT); Hepatitis B booster; Polio booster
- Month 3: Diptheria, Pertussis, Tetanus (DPT) booster; Hepatitis B booster; Polio booster
- Month 4: Diptheria, Pertussis, Tetanus (DPT) booster; Hepatitis B booster; Polio booster
- Month 9: Measles
To download the Book of Maternal and Child Health (in Indonesian): Click here