The SMG to Expand Benefits for Mothers in Seoul
The Seoul Metropolitan Government provides mothers in the city with benefits associated with their pregnancy, childbirth, and child rearing with the goal of making Seoul a good city for child-bearing/rearing mothers. These benefits help alleviate the economic burden of couples associated with childbirth, including the payment of expenses for artificial insemination, postpartum care, and medical checkups, as follows:
Pre-pregnancy: provision of support for couples having problems getting pregnant
It is reported that there is an increase in the number of couples having problems getting pregnant in the age of first marriage. The SMG provides financial support (up to 7.5 million won) for in vitro fertilization operations or artificial insemination operations (up to 500,000 won on each occasion, up to three occasions). In 2015, a total of 9,049 couples with problems getting pregnant received support from the SMG, and about half (55%) succeeded in having a baby. Those eligible for financial support are married women aged 44 or lower diagnosed with problems getting pregnant from a household whose average monthly income comes to 150% or less of the national average.
Those registered with the local health office as an expectant mother can receive a pre-natal test, along with folic acid and gentle iron, free of charge. In addition, bag rings announcing the women’s pregnancy are provided to women in the early stage of pregnancy to encourage other citizens to take care of them. Young expectant mothers who may be in a poor state of pre-natal management can receive up to 1.2 million won for their pregnancy and childbirth, and can use the expectant mother voucher regardless of their income level.
Expectant mothers suffering from high-risk pregnancy complications like preterm labor, postpartum hemorrhage, and pregnancy toxaemia can receive up to 3 million won per person.
Those from a low-income household (earning 80% or less than average middle-level income) can receive home visit services provided by a health expert, with preparation of meals, laundry management, and taking care of new-born babies included) for up to ten days. Starting in 2016, handicapped individuals from a household earning 100% or less than average middle-level income who have given birth to the second baby or a twin can also receive benefits.
All newborn babies born in Seoul can go through free health checkups, including congenital metabolic abnormalities inspections, on a total of seven occasions until they are six. Premature babies weighing less than 2.5kg from a low-income household and infants suffering from heart disease are covered for up to 1.5 million won of treatment. Expenses for early diagnosis of congenital hearing loss through neonatal hearing screening tests are also paid for.
Infants up to two years old
Low-income households (earning 40% or less than the average middle-level income) with an infant aged up to 12 months can receive financial support for diapers and modified milk powder. Starting in early 2016, such households can receive a sum twice as high as last year (64,000 won per month for diapers and 86,000 won per month for modified milk powder).
The service of having nurses specializing in infants pay visits to households with expectant mothers and infants (those aged two or less) for their health management is provided in 19 autonomous districts of Seoul. The number of nurses engaging in this service has increased by 60 this year. The SMG plans to provide the service in all 25 autonomous districts by 2017. Those registered as expectant mothers can receive this service.
In addition, the public health centers in autonomous districts of Seoul are making preparations for programs like lectures on how to be ready for childbirth, lessons on prenatal care of an unborn child, and breastfeeding classes.
Commenting on the programs provided for expectant mothers and infants, Director General Kim Chang-bo in charge of People’s Health said, “It is very important for us to inform people of the importance of pregnancy and childbirth, particularly in this era of low-birth rates, and foster a social atmosphere for taking care of expectant mothers. We will strive to make Seoul an ideal city for giving birth to children and raising them by taking a wide variety of support measures for the children, their mothers, and their households.”
For inquiries, please contact the Health Promotion Division ☎ 02-2133-7579.