Pregnancy insurance – is it really necessary?

This link about pregnancy insurance keeps popping up on my facebook page. Pregnancy insurance is something I have seriously looked into and have some views on. I have resisted commenting on the post even when my friends share it because I have good friends and some family in the family industry and I don’t want to offend them. However today it just popped up one time too many for me to resist.

Here is the link so you have a fair chance to see the original writer’s side of the story and take a view.

In this post, I will be presenting a different view. There, I’ve said it and incurred the wrath of all insurance agents and brokers out there. But let me explain. I am a believer in insurance – where it makes sense. My medical insurance cover is probably higher than most, and I utilise a combination of whole life, term life and savings plans to create a safety net for my family.

Pregnancy insurance is something that I have looked into ever since I conceived my first child. There are many more products now than when I first started looking. However, even with many more products today, none of them make sense for me for the following reasons:

1) They only cover very limited congenital diseases – 18 is the highest I have seen. Compared to the endless possibilities of congenital conditions out there, the chance that the pregnancy insurance will come in useful is slim.

2) Payouts are low relative to potential medical costs if something bad really happens. Generally the idea of insurance is so that you don’t have to worry about medical costs, but pregnancy insurance cover is typically something like $10,000 or less, which is nowhere near enough to cover medical costs for the alcovered conditions or complications.

3) Finally, the so called guaranteed insurability needs to be clarified. The promoters of pregnancy insurance claim that it is great for the unborn child because it gives him guaranteed insurability meaning even if he is born with certain medical condition he will not be rejected for insurance cover. Sounds good right? Well, look more closely. The guaranteed insurability is typically for savings plan, or life insurance, or some other similar very specific savings/investment type product. It is NEVER health and surgical or similar medical plan. That defeats the purpose then. What you need for a newborn is to get a plan that covers medical costs if he/she falls sick, even if the sickness is something he/she is born with. Unfortunately this most wanted cover is not available. Instead, the insured is enticed into getting a life/savings/investment plan she may not otherwise need.

If anyone knows of any pregnancy insurance that defies the above objections, especially item 3, I would like to know about it and would seriously look into it. Anything else is to me not useful. The cover is full of holes and any sense of security you may get out of it is false.

I would, however, urge all Singaporeans to look seriously into a good healthcare plan that covers outpatient treatment. Most Singaporeans are seriously under-covered in this respect. The good ones also cover maternity and complications so you shouldn’t even need to think of pregnancy insurance.

Apart from medical, the second most important cover is to ensure that your life insurance payout is sufficient to provide for your dependants for their lifetime after taking into account inflation. Usually it would not be practical to achieve this with just whole life plans so use a combination of term and whole life if you have many dependants. It is important to note that life insurance here refers to life insurance for yourself and your spouse, not for the children. For the children, what is important to me is that his/her medical expenses are covered, not life insurance.

After this, consider some very basic savings plans as a form of enforced savings. However, if you are disciplined and/or a seasoned investor, then it may be better to just save and invest yourself.

Finally, of course, the usual fire insurance for homes, car insurance. Apart from that, those “special” insurances like pregnancy, or new funky ones like Zika insurance are not worth the money.

*Bracing myself to be flamed by insurance agents and brokers*

Baby speak

Inspired by Daphne (of Mother Inc)‘s post on baby Theo’s hilarious conversations, I thought I’ll post my very own baby’s funny speech. Nowhere near as advanced as Theo’s but equally entertaining (to me).

Frosty ABCs

Sandra: ABCDEFG, HIJK amehmehmo P, qoo ar S, TUV, WXY and Z, now I know my ABCs,

Me: next time won’t you sing with me

Sandra: next time won’t you sing with OLAF!

Missing her Cousin

Sandra: Sarah Lu Sarah Lu where are you? (with a big frown)

Here I am here I am how do you do. (with a huge smile)


Most children who go to childcare centres or kindergarten seems to learn the word “Mine!” quite quickly. Sophia never did but Sandra picked it up quite quickly and uses it often and fervently at home. Sophia has the table turned on her when…

(Enter Stage left Sandra innocently holding a soft toy Eevee by the ear)

(Enter stage right Sophia who spotted Sandra doing this. Sophia sneaks up to Sandra, crouches down to peer at her face)

Sophia (shouting suddenly): Mine!

Sandra: (jumps a mile shouting) Ahhhhh!

Pig coloured diaper

(The background to this conversation is that the supermarket ran out of the girl version of XL sized diapers right at the point we needed to upgrade Sandra to XL, so we bought XL diapers in boys’ blue. Henceforth, she decided that the blue ones are more comfortable)

(During diaper changing as I walk towards Sandra with a pink XL sized diaper)

Sandra: I don’t want!!!

Me: What don’t you want?

Sandra: I don’t want *thinks very hard during a very long pause* oink oink diaper

Me: *strugling not to laugh* then what diaper do you want?

Sandra: booloo (blue) diaper

Mini diaper?

(During diaper changing as I walk towards Sandra with a pink XL sized diaper)

Sandra: I don’t want!!!

Me: What don’t you want?

Sandra: I don’t want pim (pink) colour diaper (she has progressed from oink oink to pim after being laughed at many times)

Me: Then what do you want?

Sandra: mini mini poo 

Me: What??

Sandra: Mini mini poo

Me: *puzzled* mini mini poo?

Sandra: Yes. (Nodding with great relief at my understanding)

Solution to the mini poo puzzle: Mamy Poko aka Winnie the Pooh diapers

EVA Airlines review

Taiwan is an amazingly child friendly place so, come June holiday, we went again. This time, we took EVA Air because it is significantly cheaper than Singapore airlines tickets for the same period (about 30% cheaper) for the dates we were thinking of.

EVA seriously needs to update its corporate colours and logo because it is really not confidence inspiring. Just looking at the logo I had the impression that it is a very backward operation. However, a bit of online research showed that it is highly rated and has a very good safety record. On the back of research through Mr Google, off we went on EVA Air.

The booking of air tickets through its website was easy enough but the system showed that we were unable to select seats because we were travelling with an infant. However, we realised that the bassinet seats (there were only 2) were all booked up. We were informed that the other passengers called in to reserve those seats. So if you are travelling with infant, do call their reservation centre to book your seats. When we asked the air stewardess about the bassinet seats, they tried very hard to be helpful, calling their ground staff, even asking the passengers at the bassinet seats how they got the seats, all on their own accord without us making further requests. They also agreed to help us call their ground staff to reserve bassinet seats for us on the return flight. Throughout all these they kept asking us for information and apologising, they must have come to talk to us more than 10 times throughout the flight on this matter, which is fine for us since the flight is so boring anyway but some may get irritated. The bit that did irritate us a bit though was that they failed to deliver in the end. We did not have a bassinet seat on our return flight.

Apart from the failure to secure us a bassinet seat though, the service is amazing. The air Stewardess came promptly once the call button is pressed and always carried a genuine smile. The food is as good (or bad) as any other airline’s. Children were offered a choice of simple activity kits which my older child appreciated.

In flight entertainment (whether movie choices or magazine choices) is where it loses out significantly to my usual carrier of choice, SQ. Choices were far more limited and movies are listed under its new release section were movies already moved to favourites in SQ flights (I took an SQ flight immediately after returning from Taiwan so could make a direct comparison).

All in all, EVA is a good cost effective option for travelling to Taiwan. Positive points were warm service and good safety record; negative points are lack of bassinet seats on flight and limited in flight entertainment choices. If you don’t speak Mandarin, it may also be less convenient although I did overhear some stewardesses converse with passengers in Engligh and they were proficient.

I still am a supporter of my national carrier, SQ, but sometimes when bookings are done too late, their prices can be a bit ridiculous and that’s when maybe EVA can be a good option.

Where are you travelling to this December holiday? Here’s to a great holiday season for everyone!

Where does one go during Halloween?

Woodlands woodgrove of course. I was reluctant to go because traffic is a pain and daddy is not around to bring us. However, the bigger girl was insistant and I relented. It ended up being a fun mother-daughter date night.

The Woodgrove at woodlands is surprisingly good at least on the food front. We had waffles and ice cream at Two plus One Cafe. It was so yummy that Sophia finished the entire scoop of strawberry cheesecake ice cream, which has never happened before. She always says she is full after finishing just a quarter of a scoop. The ice cream flavours are interesting but not weird – things like earl grey with figs, Thai milk tea and so on. The waffle is also crispy and not too sweet.

When we went out to wait for the cab, we realised that there is also Loy Kee chicken rice and a 24 hours Muslim Coffeeshop that was very crowded. There is also an NTUC finest. Too bad it’s too far for us to frequent.

Art wall

Sophia adores art and craft, and actually isn’t half bad at it. So when we moved to our new place, even though my interior designer was dying to do a feature wall on the large empty wall behind my dining table, I denied him the pleasure, mentally allocating that space for framed pieces of Sophia’s work. Alas, the shy girl wanted her pieces on her room wall instead and the final compromised was the corridor.

The large piece is the first project from her art class that we recently enrolled her for. She was quickly selected to feature in her school’s newsletter. This is the photo that would appear:

The piece on the right was just a random piece. It was actually Sandra, the younger one, who wanted to paint and, not wanting to lose out, Sophia proceeded to use the paints to create a 5 minute piece as well. The results look pretty amazing if I may say so. I don’t know if this is a fluke because most of her pieces don’t turn out this good but if it is, it’s a fluke I am definitely keeping.

Oh and apart from the art wall pieces she is also constantly working on craft. There are loads of clay figurines and she paints on her toy figurines from kinder surprise eggs. She also recently compelled (yes compelled) me to sew her this pencil case. I was the manual worker, she was the brain with specific instructions as follows:

1) cut a rectangle then cut another one of the same size. You can lay the first one on top to make sure the size is the same. (She also proceeded to show me how long and wide the rectangle should be)

2) sew or glue on the zip.

3) make a bow from this ribbon and fix it “here” (at that corner) 

She then wanted to cut eyes etc out of felt but I told her to just draw them on with black fabric marker (phew good thing I bought some of these else I need to see on felt features!) The drawn on features were definitely the highlight of the piece, wouldn’t you agree?

Simple pleasures

We are often so tired from the day to day routines whether on weekdays or weekends that we just want to stay at home and sleep or watch youtube or order food by delivery. But last weekend I insisted that the husband and I bring the kids out on a walk to the neighbourhood park and we had so much fun! It’s really just an ordinary playground but the simple structures and the open space is just so amazing to the couped up kids of today.

On another note, I can’t believe how fast the second child is growing up!

Sewing again

These days my therapeutic activity of choice is sewing, and recently I was in need of distraction so the sewing machine got dusted off. Sandra has a simple dress that took half a day to make but of course she prefers her older sister’s dress that is more complex and took 2 days. Looks like a balloon on her:

Not very green fingers but trying!

When we moved recently to a place with a patio, one thing we knew we wanted was a vege patch. The thinking was that we’d harvest batches of home grown Shanghai greens, Kang kong and other green leafies for our meals. The reality is of course that our fingers are not as green as we thought and each sowing only yielded a miserable portion not even enough for one person.

Good thing we also hedged our bets and grew some herbs that fared better. The hardy Pandan is of course a staple in southeast Asian households and these grew well easily even through bouts of neglect.

The tall grasses on its left are lemongrass. I planted a total of 6 stalks of these after I rooted them and 3 managed to grow well and each developed into a few stalks of lemongrass that grew surprisingly tall! I’m just leaving these to grow until I host some gathering where I will harvest them to make some Thai inspired dishes or perhaps a refreshing lemongrass drink.

On the right of the lemongrass is basil. The label of the seeds said sweet basil but the leaves of these smell more citrusy than the common sweet basil that I get from the supermarket so I’m not quite sure what variety they are.

But what grew best of all are the flowers that Sophia wanted to grow which we didn’t even think will ever sprout, and after they sprouted we didn’t think the tiny thin sprouts will survive the battering of singapore’s heavy rain, but they survived all odds and bloomed!

The herb and flower patch is definitely a work in progress but it feels like we are going in the right direction. Now to start working on mint, rosemary and curry leaves.


I’m so glad I have a couple of kids who are quite good about haircutting such that I don’t have to spend an exorbitant price going to a specialised place with cartoons kiddy rides and specially trained stylists.

We went to QB House at the basement of VivoCity and were told that we should head to their kids version on level 2 because parents are not allowed to stay with the kids when their hair is cut at the adults outlet (which is much more spacious than the very packed level 2 outlet). We need to stay outside of the shop when the shop is very spacious and clearly can take 2 standing parents. Convinced this is a ploy to get people to pay almost double to use the QB House Kids services as other 10 minute haircut outlets without the kids version nearby don’t seem to have this rule.

Anyway, both the 5 years old and the 1.5 year old happily had their hair cut all on their own.

Success! Kaching, $20 saved is $20 earned!