The cost of a pregnancy in the UAE can range from AED 20,000 to AED 30,000 including ultrasounds, gynecologist consultations and hospital stays – not including any medication or antenatal classes you may require – so it’s critical you understand the terms and conditions of your health insurance cover.

If you are thinking of becoming pregnant soon, you need to know that most health insurance policies will not cover your expenses unless you have been insured for at least six to twelve months prior to your pregnancy, as pregnancy is considered a pre-existing condition.

Joanna had two pregnancies completely hassle-free, but was not so lucky with her third; complications led to a premature birth. “I really would not recommend having a baby here without insurance,” she says. “The cost can escalate very quickly in the case of complications and premature birth. A complicated pregnancy is stressful enough, without having to think about who is going to foot the bill.”

To avoid any surprises, here are some questions you may want to ask your health insurance provider.

  • Countries: Which countries are covered under your policy during maternity and for delivery? (This applies to you if you are thinking of giving birth in your home country vs the UAE. Providers may cover just the UAE, all the GCC, the UAE and your home country or the GCC and your home country.)
  • Hospitals: What hospitals are covered under your policy?
  • Terms and conditions: Can I get maternity cover benefits as soon as I get your policy? If not, how long is the waiting period, after I join?
  • Hospital stay duration: How many days is my hospital stay covered for after delivery? How many days is my baby covered for after delivery?
  • Claims & alerting the provider: Exactly how soon after I go into labor or give birth should I contact your insurance company? (Service providers may fine you if you don’t call within hours of hospital admission or delivery.)
  • Direct billing: Do you offer direct billing on all my consultation and hospital bills or do I have to pay and claim back?
  • Ceiling: Is there a maximum (ceiling) amount that you cover up to or is it unlimited?
  • Prenatal – general care: Will my regular visits to a doctor, ultrasounds and blood tests be covered under your policy?
  • Prenatal – pregnancy screenings: During my pregnancy, will any screening tests to check the baby’s health, such aschorionic villus sampling (CVS) or amniocentesis, be covered under your policy? (For example, some insurance companies won’t cover screening tests for Down syndrome for women under the age of 35 and that is a cost of AED 1,500)
  • Post-partum – general care: For how long post-delivery do you cover the follow-up visits to my doctor? And if there is any other prescribed consultation with other specialist, would your company cover the cost?
  • Post-partum: Complications: Will my additional hospital bills be covered in case of complications during and after the delivery? Will my baby be covered in case of complication during and after the delivery?

Do your research before investing into a health insurance plan and compare all your options. Find out more about health insurance policies in the UAE and health insurance policies in Saudi Arabia with maternity cover.