Prenatal Care in Dubai

Information about the care and support provided for expectant mothers in Dubai...

Once a pregnancy is confirmed the first decision to be made is where to go for pre-natal (antenatal) check ups and delivery. Pre-natal (antenatal) care is offered at government health centres or hospitals, private clinics and private hospitals. Deliveries only take place at government and private hospitals with an obstetrician.

Any foreign resident who has a valid health card is entitled to have their baby at a government hospital.

  • For information on getting a health card: Click here

Antenatal care usually begins when a woman is between 12 and 15 weeks pregnant. On the day of the first appointment she will need to take the following documents:

  • Valid government health card or private insurance card
  • Marriage certificate (original and copy)
  • Copies of the husband and wife's passports
  • Tenancy contract and utility bill (for government hospitals only)
  • Fees due

Choosing a hospital

The standard of medical facilities is generally considered good at both government and private hospitals. It is a good idea to ask other mothers who have given birth in Dubai for their suggestions and input regarding hospitals and doctors.

Government hospitals

Many expatriate families choose to use government healthcare for pre-natal care and delivery. Government hospitals conform to Islamic customs and the most obvious difference is that husbands are not allowed in the general pre-labour rooms. Once a woman is ready for active delivery, she will be moved to a delivery room where her husband may be present.

Al Wasl Hospital has a renowned neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and is widely used for high risk pregnancies.

If a woman chooses to give birth at a government hospital, and is not expecting a high risk pregnancy, then she will be assigned to a primary health centre based on her area of residence. All pre-natal check ups take place at the primary health centre.

Once a woman has a government health card, she can contact the primary health centre that services her area and set up an appointment. It is advisable to do so as soon as pregnancy is confirmed, although she will not be seen until she is at least 15 weeks pregnant. If the woman waits too long, she may not be able to secure an appointment for several weeks.

It is highly likely that a woman will be seen by different doctors at each appointment if she uses government hospital facilities.

The check ups include blood tests, urine tests, checking the foetal heart rate, ultrasound scans, monitoring weight gain and screening for abnormalities.

The standard of care is generally acknowledged to be very good and hospitals are clean and well equipped, although waiting times for an appointment may be long.

  • For further information on government hospitals and maternity care: Click here
  • To find a local Primary Health Care Centre: Click here

Private hospitals

There are several private hospitals equipped to handle pre-natal care and delivery. These hospitals are recommended for women who wish for a more personal touch and to see the same doctor throughout her pregnancy. Pre-natal packages may be purchased at the hospital, or alternatively a woman may see an obstetrician/gynaecologist at a private clinic and arrange for delivery at the private hospital with which her doctor is affiliated.

In the private sector it is possible to pay for check-ups on a visit-by-visit basis, or purchase a pre-natal package. These packages usually include all routine tests and ultrasound scans. Any additional treatment is charged as an extra. A woman sees the same doctor at each pre-arranged appointment and this doctor also attends the birth.

Frequency of visits is essentially the same as for the government hospitals, but may be increased if there are any concerns.

There are also midwives who can handle pre-natal check-ups. These check-ups usually include tracare will be arranged for ultrasound scans or if there are any abnormalities. Many midwives are attached to local private clinics such as Dubai London Clinic.

Costs

Fees vary greatly between private and government hospitals depending on the method of delivery, with costs for caesarean sections generally being two to three times higher than normal deliveries. C-sections are still considerably cheaper at government hospitals than private hospitals.

Maternity costs at government hospitals are on the increase and natural deliveries and pre-natal packages are now on par with private hospitals.

If a woman chooses to deliver at a government hospital, she must purchase the pre-natal package in full and can not pay by appointment.

Anyone with private medical insurance should check what is and what is not covered. Some private insurance companies will only cover a set amount of fees, certain drugs and procedures.

Alternatively, pre-natal check-ups and delivery can take place at a private hospital. This may be more expensive, although some foreign residents may have comprehensive medical insurance which pay some or all maternity costs.

Hospitals in both the government and private sector can arrange visits and provide information about the care they provide and their facilities should complications arise. Residents should check, but many of the private hospitals make use of the specialist neonatal facilities at the government hospitals if required.

  • For information on choosing a hospital from the Dubai government portal: Click here

Preparing for the Birth

Women who would like information on the birthing process, breathing techniques, general health and well-being, and how to care for a newborn can enrol in pre-natal classes. Some of the options for preparing for the birth include:

Further Information