Birthing In Bali

Birthing in Bali

“What? You’re having your baby in Bali? WHY?!” Is the common response I had when I told people I was planning to move to the island of gods to give birth. To be honest I wasn’t exactly sure “WHY?!” myself, I just knew I had to do it. I discovered it was a tad more complicated than I thought it would be. I wish someone would have given me a step-by-step guide when I was going through the legalities. I guess that’s why I’m writing this now. In the hopes I might be able to help someone else out there looking for answers.

At the end of this article you will find contacts for a variety of sources including a doctor I recommend, midwife, masseurs, driver, doula, and a visa agent.

BIRTH

First off, Bali has great medical facilities so get the notion out of your head that it’s all terrible – it is not. 

I found myself in excellent care, first in the hands of the amazing earth mama Ibu Robin Lim at her birthing center – Bumi Sehat – which operates by donation. The whole environment has a real sense of calm about it. The reason I chose this particular place is that they are very pro natural birth and I believe Robin is one of the very best midwives out there to do that with! This centre welcomes expats with open arms, but they do ask for a donation of 1,000 USD or equivalent – fair!! As they do a bunch of local births for NADA, as they don’t make much money. 

However, once it was clear that natural birth was not possible for me (so they didn’t charge us), and that cesarean was going to be my only option, I was sent to BROS hospital to see one of Robin’s highly recommended doctors, Dr Haryaisa.

The care at this hospital was amazing. The surgery was fast and thank god I didn’t feel a thing, until of course afterward… if you’ve had a cesarean you will know what I mean. 

We stayed for about 3 days in hospital and were looked after above and beyond! Everything was clean and organised. The food sucked but unfortunately this seems to always be the way with hospitals (which I simply do not understand!). We paid just under 5k, mind you though we stayed for 4-5 days and took full advantage of the help. This in Singapore would cost around 20k. 

We also were lucky enough to meet a wonderful soul and an absolutely necessary addition to the birthing process – Sydne, a doula. Sydne was with us through the whole labour and birth which was a whopping 3 days long! I could not have done it without her. I would go as far as to say I would make sure she is in the same country as me for the next baby. If you are not familiar with doulas, they are there to help in all aspects of the birthing process, the things that a man simply wouldn’t understand, or perhaps can’t stomach. 

To have a strong shamanic woman that has birthed a child herself is a huge advantage and help. She helped me to breath, made sure I was looked after properly by the staff and brought me fresh coconut water all day long 🙂

She has packages that include prenatal and postpartum visits and care. Her prices are very reasonable!

LEGALITIES

Most importantly you need to know that you get 60 days to organise all of your paper work for the baby once it is born. Every day after 60 days you get charged overstay – which is now a ridiculous 1,000,000 IDR. About $100 AUD. Feck. Let me tell you I didn’t realise this until my baby was already 23 days over. It took so long to get all the paper work organised.

My advice is start ASAP.

What you need for baby’s passport:

  • Pre birth certificate (you get this at the hospital at the time of birth)
  • Birth certificate for your baby: I got mine at BROS hospital, all they need is your passport the child’s pre birth certificate and two stamps. This should take about a week, so I recommend starting the process when you’re at the hospital. They will call you to let you know when it is ready, so you’ll need to go and pick it. 
  • Once you have the birth certificate, you can apply for citizenship. In my case, it was Australian citizenship we were applying for which meant I had to make an appointment at the Australian Visa Centre located in Benoa Sq. Do this asap and take as much paper work (including ultra sound pictures) as you can that will prove you are a citizen and the child’s relation to you. This process can take months, which you don’t have! And no you cannot pay to speed the process up! You can however write an official letter explaining the urgency to have this done in time. Once this is done, and your citizenship is approved, you can pick it up at the visa centre where you had your interview. I emailed every day after about 2 weeks passed to check on the application status. It still took them about 6 weeks as they needed more proof, which is why I say take as much proof as you can from the start!
  • Passport! Now finallyyy… make an appointment at the Australian embassy in Denpasar. This is the quietest embassy I’ve ever seen, but still do make an appointment. Now you can get an emergency passport which is issued in 2 days, and you literally pick it up in 2 days – DON’T WAIT FOR THE CALL as they won’t call. However the regular passport will take up to 3 weeks and then you do get a call. I applied for both just in case. The emergency passport is enough, as you can use it for 7 months.
  • VISA: Now that all of the paper work is done, you can apply for the visa. To do this I advise getting an agent. It will make the process much easier and you can pay them to do it faster. The child will get a visa, called a KITAS or a social visa, once the parent’s visa is complete. In my case I got a social visa (which is easily organised through an agent).

Note that if you do not have a marital certificate, the father is not “recognised” on the birth certificate and therefore the rest of the documents. You can quickly get certified if you need to in Bali by way of a priest to make things easier. We went through the whole process without a certificate, so it is possible. But if you have a marriage certificate it does make things a lot easier.

Now on another note, I recommend getting all the help you can before and after baby arrives! It just makes life easier. In my time I managed to find some very reliable maids, a nanny, and an on-call massage therapist that will come to your door!! For only $8!!! Please tip her haha, she’s amazing.

Enjoy the Bali bliss!!

CONTACTS:

Doctor and Midwife

These two are the best in Bali. Whether you’re going the natural birth route or surgery you are in very safe hands with these skilled professionals!

– Ibu Robin Lim, midwife, Author, practices at Bumi Sehat, Bumisehat.org

– Dr Hariyissa , well respected obstetrician within the expat community:

  • BROS hospital (for birth – natural or cesarean)
  • Kasih Medica (for the prenatal and postpartum visits)  (0361) 231628

Doula

Doula’s help you through the birth process. I would recommend Synde, who was a huge help to me while I was in labor and giving birth.

Sydne, Doula

Citizenship and Visa

If you are Australian and looking to give birth in Bali, here are some useful recommendations:

– Australian Visa Application Centre: Benoa Square. Need an appointment or can arrive and wait.

– Australian Consulate in Denpasar. Definitely need an appointment. But only once you get the citizenship!

Visa Agent

– Alyssa at P.T. Visa for life – I used this agent for EVERYTHING, she speaks Russian and English.  She will absolutely get it done!

+62 878 6068 5505

Driver

– Eka +62811 1881 900

The most reliable driver, who took me to hospital, after the birth and ALL of my doctor visits as I needed. An absolute pleasure to be around and speaks excellent English.

Massage in Your Home

– Sinar +62 878 0303 1986, try to organise a day in advance! She will come to your house wherever you are!

Prenatal Massage

– Ratna at Spa Ubud Bali +62 819 99608239

Nanny

– Kadek +62 818 0568 6825

Maid

– Ning +62 878 62076858, speaks very good English

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