Now that my partner and I have come to the end of the seemingly-eternal nine month wait for our baby, I am well placed to tell you that pregnancy care is not cheap. The last nine months have been dominated by appointments with gynaecologists, obstetricians and anaesthetists, pre-natal scans and check ups. Thankfully, the birth of our healthy baby boy was straightforward – but things don’t always run smoothly. My partner may have needed an emergency caesarean or baby specialist post-natal care. The cost of it all mounts up.

Fortunately, we had maternity cover in place which has eased the burden on our own pockets during the pregnancy, and gives us peace of mind that whatever happens when now that our son has entered the world, it won’t derail our finances!

If you are an expat working in Asia, you are unlikely to have state maternity cover to fall back on, which makes it really important that you have private cover. Here’s some food-for-thought for mothers and fathers-to-be – even if parenthood is not on the cards immediately.

  1. Don’t wait until you are pregnant to put it in place

Our baby was planned, some are not. Pregnancy can come completely out of the blue, which is why the right time to think about maternity cover is not always easy to judge. If you are a young woman and considering having a child in the future, now is the time to start thinking about it. It’s an even more pressing concern if you are in a relationship and would like a child at some point, even if that point is a way off.

  1. Cover doesn’t start immediately

Even if you rule out the possibility of an unplanned pregnancy you need to be aware that maternity cover always comes with a waiting period or moratorium. This is the amount of time which must pass between a woman taking out cover and becoming pregnant. Usually it is between 10 and 12 months but can be more. Forward planning is definitely key here.

  1. There may be limits on total pay out

The sky is not the limit with most maternity contracts, usually there will be a maximum cover amount. If costs go above this stated amount then you will be left to foot the bill. Given the unpredictability of pregnancy and childbirth, I would always advise taking the maximum amount of cover that you can afford.

  1. Complications

If you are unfortunate enough to have a problem pregnancy, a premature birth or a difficult delivery necessitating intensive care for mother or baby then your insurance needs will be significantly higher. You should look carefully into the different levels of cover on offer and what they will pay out for. Again, go for the maximum that you can afford.

  1. How to lower premiums?

If money is tight you can look at co-insurance to lower your premiums. By splitting the cost of treatment with the insurer, for example, you agree to pay 10% of all claims, you could lower your premiums and be able to afford better cover. This is definitely something to discuss with your broker.

  1. Fertility treatment cover

Fertility treatment is extremely expensive. Some policies will cover it so if you would like this included in your cover, shop around and compare benefits.

If you’d like to discuss the options available to you with regard to maternity cover, I’d be happy to go through them with you. Speaking from experience, I can guarantee that when you do become a parent-to-be, maternity insurance is something that you won’t regret having taken out! Please send me an email at to arrange an appointment.

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