Jul 12, 2022
With confinement centres sprouting out like mushrooms after the rain, expectant mothers are spoilt for choice when it comes to selecting which confinement centre to go to for their postnatal care.
You probably have been gathering information on confinement centres with the hope to make an informed decision, and you are likely feeling overwhelmed by this task on hand. Hey, we get that, and we’ve got you! Take a deep, deep breath as you calm down and mentally take a step back; let us help you with your assessment and guide you along on some pertinent points that you may or may not be aware of.
Commercial confinement centres are mostly legal entities with approved business licences in order for them to open for business.
First and foremost, you probably realised by now that there are generally two categories of confinement centres in Malaysia, i.e. the residential and the commercial confinement centres. As the name implies, a residential confinement centre is one which is situated at a residential housing area while a commercial confinement centre is being operated at a business commercial area. There are quite a few differences where these two categories are concerned, some of which may not be as obvious as we thought they should be.
It is of paramount importance that you ensure the confinement centre you are considering is a legal entity. While there are currently no specific laws governing confinement centres, it is safe to say that commercial confinement centres are mostly legal business entities with approved business licences.
The same legality cannot be said for residential confinement centres, however. What most of us are likely unaware of is the fact that residential houses are legally meant for residential purposes only. Residential properties that have received approval from the local council to operate a business are rare to find. Any residential property that receives this approval will also see an increase in the valuation of the property.
Food for thought: would you entrust the care of your newborn and yourself during your most vulnerable period in the hands of those who are not on the right side of the law? No matter how good a residential home is reputed to be, do not miss out this important point in your assessment, for you certainly do not want to waste precious time during your confinement period being entangled in the consequences of such unpleasant legal matters.
2) Conducive environment
A residential confinement centre is one which is situated at a residential housing area while a commercial confinement centre is being operated at a business commercial area.
A conducive environment is crucial to ensure new mothers are comfortable and able to get the rest they require in order to recuperate from their birthing ordeal. The environment of a residential confinement centre is subjected to its neighbourhood: -
● Is it situated in a quiet and relaxed neighbourhood?
● Is there noise, water, or air pollution factors that will make the confinement period unpleasant?
● Are there parking issues which may cause a tiff with other neighbours?
Food for thought: Are the neighbours aware and agreeable to this residential unit being a confinement centre? If the neighbours are not agreeable to the confinement centre being in operation and there is already an existing tiff, you certainly do not want to be caught in a situation where the local authority comes calling while you are undergoing your confinement period there.
A residential home being used for commercial or business purposes is actually illegal.
A commercial confinement centre, on the other hand, may be attached to hotels, shopping malls and shop lots as it is not subjected to its neighbour’s approval to operate. It can operate as a business entity adhering to the rules and regulations set out by the local authority. Some confinement centres are operated in a building that are standalone, away from the hustle bustle of busy commercial offices and shopping hubs. This means that there is no sharing of public facilities such as lifts and staircases with other businesses, thus ensuring privacy and minimising unnecessary health risks. Oh, and there usually is ample parking bays to boot too!
The environment of a residential confinement centre is subjected to its neighbourhood.
3) Fire safety and security standards
This is another vital point of concern as this point covers a rather wide scope. Namely:
● What are the fire security and emergency plans in place?
● Are there enough fire extinguishers and fire escapes in the event of a fire emergency?
● Who will take care of the babies during emergency evacuation?
● How will the babies be evacuated?
Honestly speaking, Malaysians are generally not very well-versed when home fire safety is concerned. In 2019 alone, about 40% of fire breakouts were from housing units and terrace houses. Come to think of it, do you reckon a residential confinement centre will have any fire safety and security measures in place? It will be worth your while to check if they even have a fire extinguisher in place and if everyone there has been trained to use it when the needs arise.
It will be worth your while to check if the residential confinement centre even has a fire extinguisher in place.
Commercial buildings are generally fitted with smoke detectors, fire extinguishers and fire doors that must be approved by BOMBA and SIRIM. The local authorities also set out guidelines to ensure that the fire equipment at these commercial premises are properly maintained and ready for use at any time. Having the baby room on the ground floor will also ease evacuation of newborn babies as the priority (also having to see all the cutie pies while you’re in the lobby is a delightful sight!)
Most confinement centres tend to market their confinement food and confinement rooms as unique selling points to expectant parents. Fair enough, as these are what customers are looking for. However, we would urge you to look beyond just the food and the rooms offered.
If possible, take a peep into their kitchen to check out the preparation works there.
Do make it a point to find out where and how the confinement food is prepared and who prepares them. If possible, take a peep into their kitchen to check out the preparation works there. You may be surprised to find that some confinement centres may not have enough kitchen space to prepare their confinement food in-house and hence, catered for them from elsewhere, thus putting a further question mark on the matter of the food quality and hygiene.
Similarly, it would be a good idea to find out where and what they use for laundry services. Some confinement centres send the bedsheets and baby linens to laundromats, thereby exposing newborns to harmful chemicals that may be present in detergents.
5) Partnerships with hospitals, doctors and medical bodies
Some residential confinement centres may boast about being within proximity to clinics or hospitals for any medical emergencies. However, many a time they do not have partnerships with hospitals doctors and medical bodies for consultations and routine medical examinations of the new mothers and newborns under their care.
Some residential confinement centres may boast about being within close proximity to clinic or hospitals for any medical emergencies.
Commercial confinement centres, being a legal business entity, are proactive in collaborating with hospitals, doctors and other medical bodies to provide in-house medical care for new mothers and their newborns. Most confinement centres have weekly paediatrician visits are organised to check-up on the newborn babies. Other confinement centres who are breastfeeding friendly will arrange for new mothers to get one-to-one breastfeeding consultation with a certified lactation counsellor from the Malaysian National Lactation Centre (NLC).
There you have it now – the most pertinent points we thought you should keep at the top of your list when assessing and selecting the confinement centre for your postnatal confinement care. You may find the commercial confinement centres are a bit pricier than their residential counterparts. However, bear in mind that you are not merely paying the extra just for the services or hidden overhead costs. You are paying for something that will go a long way in providing you with the peace of mind in knowing that you and your newborn will be in very good and trustworthy hands.
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