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Navigating Maternity Care in Vietnam and in Developing Asian Countries

Maternity care is a critical aspect of healthcare, and in developing Asian countries like Vietnam, the landscape is evolving rapidly. This article delves into the current scenario of maternity hospitals, childbirth complications, and the growing trend of seeking maternity care in neighboring countries.

This is Part 1 of 3.

Maternity Hospitals in Vietnam

The increasing number of deliveries at hospitals like Tu Du in Ho Chi Minh City reflects the significant demand for maternity services in the region. The fact that on an average day, these hospitals are facilitating 150 to 200 deliveries highlights the critical role they play in providing healthcare support to expectant mothers and their newborns. This demand can be attributed to various factors, including population growth, improved access to healthcare services, and a rising awareness of the importance of proper maternal care.

The recent acquisitions in the healthcare sector, such as the American International Hospital by Raffles Medical Group and FV Hospital by Thomson Medical Group, underscore a growing trend in the region— a concerted effort to enhance and strengthen maternity services. These acquisitions are indicative of a strategic move by healthcare providers to invest in facilities that specialize in maternal and neonatal care. This signals a recognition of the increasing need for high-quality healthcare services for pregnant women and infants, reflecting a commitment to meeting the evolving healthcare demands of the community.

The involvement of international medical groups, such as Raffles Medical Group and Thomson Medical Group, in these acquisitions suggests a global perspective and a transfer of expertise in maternal care to the local healthcare landscape. This cross-border collaboration may lead to the adoption of best practices, advanced medical technologies, and a more comprehensive approach to maternal health.

Moreover, the emphasis on strengthening maternity services aligns with a broader global movement toward improving maternal and child health outcomes. Governments, healthcare organizations, and international bodies have been advocating for enhanced maternal care to reduce maternal mortality rates and ensure the well-being of newborns. By focusing on expanding and upgrading maternity services, the healthcare industry in the region is actively contributing to these global health objectives.

Complications for Maternity

Maternity complications in Vietnam are influenced by a variety of factors, with age standing out as a significant determinant. The risks associated with maternity complications tend to increase for older mothers, shedding light on the unique challenges faced by women in the country during pregnancy and childbirth. In exploring the common complications, it is essential to consider the specific socio-cultural and healthcare landscape of Vietnam.

Advanced maternal age is a notable concern in Vietnam, as women who conceive later in life may encounter a higher incidence of complications during pregnancy. The physiological changes that come with aging, coupled with the potential presence of pre-existing health conditions, contribute to the complexity of maternity care. Vietnamese women aged 35 and older may face an elevated risk of conditions such as gestational diabetes, hypertension, and chromosomal abnormalities in the fetus.

Gestational diabetes, a common complication during pregnancy, is of particular concern in Vietnam. Older mothers are more susceptible to this condition, which can lead to complications for both the mother and the baby. Addressing gestational diabetes requires a nuanced approach that considers cultural practices, dietary habits, and access to healthcare services in the Vietnamese context.

Hypertensive disorders, including preeclampsia, also pose challenges for older mothers in Vietnam. The increased risk of hypertension is influenced by age-related changes in blood vessels and the cardiovascular system. The socio-economic factors that may affect access to quality healthcare services further complicate the management of hypertensive disorders during pregnancy.

Chromosomal abnormalities, such as Down syndrome, are another concern for older mothers in Vietnam. The increased risk of genetic conditions is associated with age-related errors in chromosomal division during the formation of eggs. Cultural attitudes towards genetic testing and counseling may play a role in addressing these concerns within the Vietnamese healthcare system.

Beyond age-related factors, socio-economic status, access to healthcare, and lifestyle choices contribute significantly to maternity complications in Vietnam. Disparities in healthcare access between urban and rural areas, as well as within different socio-economic groups, may impact the ability of pregnant women to receive timely and adequate prenatal care.

Maternity Risks Based on Age

Recognizing and comprehending the correlation between maternity risks and maternal age is of paramount importance in the context of Vietnam and other ASEAN countries. Analyzing the diverse risks associated with childbirth at different stages of a woman’s life provides essential insights, equipping expectant mothers in the region to make informed decisions about their reproductive health. This exploration considers the unique socio-cultural and healthcare landscapes within Vietnam and across ASEAN nations, contributing to a holistic and region-specific understanding of maternal care.

In Vietnam, where cultural nuances and healthcare infrastructure play crucial roles, understanding the correlation between maternity risks and maternal age involves acknowledging the traditional values that may influence family planning decisions. Young mothers, particularly teenagers, may encounter challenges associated with societal perceptions, limited educational resources, and barriers to accessing quality healthcare. Addressing these factors is crucial for promoting comprehensive maternal health education and ensuring equitable healthcare services for all age groups.

In the context of women in their twenties and thirties in ASEAN countries, including Vietnam, cultural diversity and economic disparities may impact maternal healthcare access. While this age group might generally be considered at a lower risk, it is essential to recognize and address regional variations in healthcare infrastructure and resources. Initiatives that focus on promoting regular prenatal care and providing accessible health information contribute to the well-being of expectant mothers in this age bracket.

As maternal age advances, particularly into the forties, in Vietnam and across ASEAN nations, the increased risks associated with pregnancy necessitate a tailored approach. The prevalence of conditions like gestational diabetes and hypertensive disorders may be influenced by lifestyle factors, genetic predispositions, and access to advanced medical care. Regional collaborations within ASEAN can play a crucial role in sharing best practices and fostering a collective effort to enhance maternal healthcare services.

Preconception counseling and education emerge as key components in the region’s maternal healthcare strategy. Empowering women with information about reproductive health, family planning, and the potential risks associated with different maternal ages contributes to proactive and informed decision-making. Culturally sensitive approaches that consider traditional beliefs and practices further enhance the effectiveness of these educational initiatives.

Best Hospitals for Child Delivery in Thailand and Singapore

Thailand and Singapore stand out as prominent destinations for healthcare excellence, and their reputation extends to exceptional standards in child delivery services. Expectant mothers, whether local or expatriate, are drawn to the top hospitals in these countries, where a combination of cutting-edge medical technology, highly skilled healthcare professionals, and a commitment to patient-centric care converge to create an optimal environment for childbirth.

In Thailand, several hospitals have gained recognition for their excellence in child delivery services. Bumrungrad International Hospital in Bangkok, for instance, is renowned for its world-class maternity facilities. With a comprehensive range of prenatal and postnatal services, Bumrungrad ensures that expectant mothers receive personalized care throughout their pregnancy journey. The hospital’s commitment to international standards, coupled with a diverse team of experienced obstetricians and gynecologists, positions it as a top choice for both local and expatriate families seeking a safe and comfortable childbirth experience.

Another notable hospital in Thailand is Samitivej Hospital, with branches in Bangkok and other major cities. Samitivej is celebrated for its state-of-the-art maternity units, providing a range of services from routine deliveries to high-risk pregnancies. The hospital’s focus on creating a supportive and family-friendly environment adds an extra layer of comfort for expectant mothers and their families.

Similarly, in Singapore, Mount Elizabeth Hospital and Singapore General Hospital are recognized as leading institutions for child delivery services. Mount Elizabeth Hospital boasts a Women and Children’s Clinic equipped with advanced facilities and a team of experienced obstetricians, ensuring a high standard of care for expectant mothers. The hospital’s commitment to patient comfort and its family-friendly approach make it a preferred choice for both local and international patients.

Singapore General Hospital, a major public hospital in the country, is renowned for its comprehensive maternity services. The hospital’s team of dedicated healthcare professionals, coupled with a focus on research and innovation in obstetrics, positions it as a trusted institution for childbirth. The accessibility of both public and private hospitals in Singapore ensures a diverse range of options for expectant mothers, catering to different preferences and needs.

Maternity and Childbirth in Vietnam Hospitals:

Maternity and childbirth services in Vietnamese hospitals have undergone significant developments, reflecting the country’s commitment to improving healthcare infrastructure. A comprehensive examination of the current landscape reveals a multifaceted approach that encompasses a range of services, highlights technological advancements, and acknowledges potential limitations.

Available Services

Vietnamese hospitals offer a spectrum of maternity services, covering the entire continuum of care from prenatal to postnatal stages. Prenatal care typically involves regular check-ups, maternal health education, and essential screenings such as ultrasound examinations. These services aim to monitor the health of both the mother and the developing fetus, ensuring early detection of any potential complications.
In the delivery phase, hospitals provide obstetric services with skilled healthcare professionals overseeing labor and delivery. Many hospitals have dedicated maternity wards equipped with modern facilities to facilitate safe and comfortable childbirth experiences. Postnatal care includes breastfeeding support, newborn screenings, and guidance on postpartum recovery.

Technological Advancements

Advancements in technology have significantly influenced maternity and childbirth services in Vietnamese hospitals. Urban centers, in particular, are equipped with state-of-the-art labor and delivery rooms, fetal monitoring systems, and neonatal intensive care units (NICUs). The integration of electronic health records aids in the efficient management of patient information, promoting seamless communication among healthcare providers for better coordination of care.
Ultrasound technology plays a crucial role in monitoring fetal development and identifying potential issues early on. Additionally, telemedicine is increasingly being incorporated into maternity care services, allowing expectant mothers in remote areas to access consultations with specialists and receive expert guidance without the need for extensive travel.

Potential Limitations

While progress has been made, potential limitations persist within the Vietnamese maternity and childbirth landscape. One notable challenge is the rural-urban healthcare divide. Rural areas may face difficulties in providing comprehensive maternity services due to limited infrastructure, a shortage of skilled healthcare professionals, and lower accessibility to advanced medical technologies. This geographical disparity can result in uneven healthcare outcomes, with women in rural areas potentially experiencing barriers to quality maternity care.
Affordability and financial accessibility remain key concerns, especially for marginalized populations. Despite efforts to expand healthcare coverage, financial constraints may deter some women from seeking timely and adequate prenatal care, leading to potential complications during childbirth.

Why Expats Choose Delivery Outside Vietnam

The decision among expatriates to choose delivery outside Vietnam is influenced by a multitude of factors that revolve around healthcare infrastructure, perceived quality of care, and the desire for specific birthing experiences. This choice reflects a complex interplay of individual preferences, cultural considerations, and expectations regarding maternity care.

Healthcare Infrastructure

One primary consideration for expatriates opting for delivery outside Vietnam is the perceived state of the healthcare infrastructure. While Vietnam has made significant strides in improving its medical facilities, some expatriates may prefer to access healthcare systems in their home countries or in locations known for advanced medical technologies. The availability of state-of-the-art equipment, well-established medical practices, and a familiarity with healthcare systems in their home countries can contribute to a sense of security and confidence during the childbirth process.

Perceived Quality of Care

Expatriates may choose to deliver outside Vietnam due to perceived differences in the quality of healthcare services. This decision can be influenced by factors such as the reputation of healthcare providers, the level of expertise of medical professionals, and the overall healthcare standards in the chosen destination. Expatriates may prioritize access to medical facilities with a track record of successful outcomes, which they perceive as providing a higher quality of care than what they believe is available locally.

Desire for Specific Birthing Experiences

The desire for specific birthing experiences is another significant factor motivating expatriates to choose delivery outside Vietnam. This can encompass preferences related to birthing practices, cultural considerations, and the availability of birthing options such as water births, home births, or midwifery-led care. Some expatriates may seek a more personalized and holistic approach to maternity care that aligns with their individual preferences and values, which they believe may be more readily available in certain destinations.

Language and Cultural Comfort

Communication and cultural considerations also play a role in the decision-making process. Expatriates may feel more comfortable delivering in a location where they can easily communicate with healthcare providers in their native language. Additionally, cultural practices and approaches to maternity care may differ, and some expatriates may prefer an environment where their cultural expectations are more closely aligned with the birthing experience.

Insurance Coverage

Insurance coverage is a practical consideration that influences the choice of delivery location. Expatriates may have insurance plans that provide coverage for childbirth expenses in specific countries or healthcare networks. This can impact the financial aspects of childbirth, influencing the decision to deliver outside Vietnam.

Preferred Destinations for Maternity in the Region

Preferred destinations for maternity in the ASEAN region attract expatriates seeking comprehensive healthcare services, expertise, and a positive maternity care experience. Analyzing these countries provides valuable insights into the factors that make them stand out as popular choices for expectant expatriate families.


Singapore consistently tops the list as a preferred destination for maternity among expatriates in the ASEAN region. Renowned for its cutting-edge healthcare infrastructure, the city-state offers a spectrum of maternity services. Singaporean hospitals are equipped with advanced medical technologies, highly skilled healthcare professionals, and a diverse range of birthing options. The multicultural environment in Singapore, combined with a high standard of medical care, makes it an attractive choice for expatriates seeking a globally competitive and culturally inclusive maternity experience.


Thailand is another sought-after destination for expatriates considering maternity services within the ASEAN region. The country boasts a mix of modern healthcare facilities and traditional approaches to maternity care. Bangkok, in particular, is home to internationally accredited hospitals offering comprehensive prenatal, delivery, and postnatal services. The availability of English-speaking medical professionals, along with the country’s rich cultural diversity and warm hospitality, contributes to Thailand’s popularity among expatriates for maternity care.


Malaysia emerges as a favorable destination for maternity, known for its well-established medical infrastructure and a range of healthcare services. Kuala Lumpur, the capital, hosts hospitals with modern facilities and experienced obstetricians. Malaysia’s diverse cultural landscape, affordability, and the availability of internationally trained medical professionals make it an appealing choice for expatriates seeking quality maternity care in a culturally rich environment.


Vietnam is gaining recognition as a destination for expatriates seeking maternity services within the ASEAN region. While the healthcare infrastructure is continually improving, particularly in urban centers like Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, there is a growing number of hospitals equipped with modern maternity facilities. Expatriates are drawn to Vietnam for its unique cultural experience and the opportunity to receive maternity care in an environment that blends traditional practices with modern medical approaches.


Indonesia, with its diverse geography and cultural richness, is becoming an increasingly preferred destination for expatriates seeking maternity care. Cities like Jakarta offer a range of healthcare facilities with maternity services, and the country’s unique cultural practices provide a distinctive birthing experience. Expatriates may find a blend of modern medical care and traditional customs in Indonesian maternity facilities.

Obstetrician Insights on Maternity in ASEAN

Obstetrician insights on maternity in the ASEAN region offer a wealth of valuable perspectives, combining medical expertise with a nuanced understanding of regional healthcare landscapes. By gathering opinions from these specialists, we gain valuable insights into the best countries for childbirth within ASEAN and strategies for managing complications during birth.

Expert Opinions on the Best Countries for Childbirth



Obstetricians frequently highlight Singapore as a top choice for childbirth within the ASEAN region. The city-state is renowned for its advanced healthcare infrastructure, which includes state-of-the-art maternity facilities and highly skilled medical professionals. The emphasis on patient-centered care and a multicultural environment make Singapore an appealing destination for expectant mothers seeking a combination of medical excellence and cultural inclusivity.


Obstetricians often commend Thailand for its well-established medical infrastructure and the availability of modern maternity services. Bangkok, in particular, is recognized for its internationally accredited hospitals, experienced obstetricians, and a range of birthing options. The diverse cultural landscape of Thailand, along with the affordability of healthcare services, adds to its appeal as a favorable destination for childbirth.


Obstetricians note Malaysia’s attractiveness for childbirth due to its mix of modern medical facilities and cultural richness. Kuala Lumpur, with its hospitals offering comprehensive maternity services, is often recommended. The country’s affordability, coupled with the presence of English-speaking medical professionals, contributes to its popularity among expectant mothers seeking quality maternity care.

Insights into Managing Complications During Birth


Advanced Medical Technologies

Obstetricians in the ASEAN region highlight the integration of advanced medical technologies in managing complications during birth. Hospitals in countries like Singapore leverage cutting-edge equipment for fetal monitoring, diagnostic imaging, and neonatal care. These technologies aid in early detection and effective management of potential complications, ensuring optimal outcomes for both mother and baby.

Multidisciplinary Approach

Obstetricians emphasize the importance of a multidisciplinary approach in managing complications. Collaboration between obstetricians, neonatologists, anesthesiologists, and other specialists ensures a comprehensive and coordinated response to potential challenges during childbirth. This teamwork is especially crucial in addressing complex cases and ensuring the best possible care for both mother and child.

Continued Professional Development

Obstetricians across the ASEAN region highlight the significance of continued professional development to stay abreast of the latest advancements in maternal-fetal medicine. Regular training, participation in conferences, and knowledge exchange contribute to enhanced skills in managing complications. This commitment to ongoing education ensures that obstetricians are well-equipped to handle diverse and evolving challenges in maternity care.

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