Having a baby in Dubai? Here is what I’ve learnt so far…
[dropcap]When[/dropcap] I found out I was 5-weeks pregnant, apart from Kip obviously, Carmel was the first person I told. We’ve been working together at Emirates Woman for a year and she already had one little girl and was expecting her second a few weeks ahead of me. She’s been through the up’s and downs and as I’ve never even researched having a baby here, her advice was invaluable.
She told me which hospital to go for my first scan (Lifeline which was near the office) and which doctor to see (Dr.Vineeta). The hospital isn’t as glitzy as some of the others, it’s a smaller set up and reminds me of NHS in terms of long waiting times, but the staff are nice and give good advice.
I went through my first trimester there and it was fine, apart from when it came to do the 12-week scan, the sonographer decided not to show up and there was no one else to do it. I had to have it done that day so after a long argument they set us up to go across town where we waited over 3-hours to do the tests.
After that, we looked to move to Al Zahra hospital which is the newest in Dubai and had a couple of great doctors with background in U.K. and US health service. The place feels like a hotel, it’s the only one that offers a water birth, plus I know a few people who had their babies there and were very happy with the level of care. However we decided on the American Hospital as it’s considered one of the best and we really like our doctor.
Dr Wendy had worked in the UK and UAE for several years, has 4 kids (2 of which are twins) and is so easy to talk to which I find calming and reassuring. Who doesn’t want a straight up doctor to tell you something you read is bullshit? The facilities are luxe, you have at least 5 members of staff per patient on the day of delivery and all the birth rooms are large and private.
For personal reasons I am looking at the cesarean birth option. It’s a very common practice in Dubai, be it mother’s initial choice or for when it gets a little bit risky for the baby during natural delivery. It’s a serious surgery but the idea that it’s a controlled environment where everyone knows what they’re doing eases my anxiety – plus the baby is in a safer position that she would be if it an emergency C-section. Recovery will take longer but two of my friend actually found the recovery process quick, especially as you stay in hospital for 4 nights where the nurses monitor you and can also go through all the newborn essentials. Your husbands can stay in the room with you too, or there is a great hotel just across the road.
After that essay, here is what you need to know:
- Meet a mummy or two who already been through the process
- Choose the right health insurance, mine is DAMAC Gold
- Research all the hospitals
- And always get a tour of the facilities
- Book a prenatal class 4-6 weeks before you’re due. A whole day is intense but you learn a lot, especially first aid
- Make sure to take your wedding certificate, passports and ID’s to the hospital on the day
- Check out mumzworld.com, babysouk.com, mamasandpapas.ae and justkidding-me.com for baby essentials
- It sucks that our families live far away, but after thorough research and interviews you can get a good live-in nanny who can help look after the baby and the house so you can at least have a few minutes to take a shower!
- If you’re working, maternity leave is 45 days including weekends which is dramatically shorter than in the UK, but I hear that it might get increased soon
- Something I haven’t look at yet, but there are nighttime nurses who can look after your baby overnight if you just need a few good hours of sleep
The hospitals and the level of care you can receive in Dubai is amazing and I am personally excited to have our little one here as I feel like I’ll get the support any new mum needs and deserves – especially if your slightly nervous about the whole thing.