Having a baby in the UAE can be expensive and your insurance may not cover the cost of care for you or the delivery of your child. Here’s how to make sure you don’t end up penniless when the baby is born.

Raising a child in the UAE can cost as much as AED1.2 million or more. But before you consider the cost of bringing up your offspring, you might want to factor in the actual cost of being pregnant and delivering a child into your budget.

With prenatal care costing around AED6,000 and the actual delivery as much as AED25,000, depending on whether or not a mother has a C-section, pregnancy is not a financial walk in the park.

And before you assume your health insurance will cover everything, think again. Some insurance policies only cover a limited amount of care and others nothing maternity-related at all. So, if you have a lot of complications during the pregnancy or a difficult delivery, you may end up with a huge bill.

But before you go into panic mode, there are a number of steps to ensure you are financially protected. If you are setting up a new health insurance policy, then shop around for the best maternity deal for you; cover amounts typically range between AED10,000 to AED20,000.

If you already have a policy, call up your insurer and find what is covered. If it is a corporate policy, speak to your employer and, again, find out if maternity is included and how much is covered. If there is no maternity clause on the policy, then you need to upgrade.

Not all companies will pay for the upgrade so you may have to shell out for the add-on yourself. But remember, adding maternity cover to a policy or starting a new policy means there may be a time lapse before the cover becomes effective. In most instances, you need to have your policy in place for up to a year before any pregnancy claims can be made.

If you have left it too late, then the cheapest option is to buy a maternity package. Rates differ at different hospitals but average around Dh6000 for an ante natal package which includes 12 visits and a number of routine laboratory tests – a much cheaper option than paying for each visit and test individually. A normal delivery package is around AED12,000 and a C-section up to AED25,000.

The other thing to consider is that your insurance policy not only affects you but also your newborn baby. Alert your insurer that the baby is coming and then notify them as soon as the child is born to ensure he or she is covered. This is particularly important for babies who have serious complications and need expensive specialist care.

The best advice is to do your research early and compare all the options to find the best maternity health cover out there. It will save you a lot of worry and money further along down the line.