Having a Baby in Qatar

Information on expecting and having a baby in Qatar: prenatal checks, the birth options and the post natal check-up and vaccinations...

Women who think they may be pregnant in Qatar should visit a hospital or clinic in Doha for an initial consultation with a doctor, who carry out tests to confirm the pregnancy.

Expatriate residents can opt for either a government-run or private hospital or clinic for their pre-natal care. All Doha's main private and government hospitals have maternity wards. Maternity care at government hospitals is largely free, but they can be busier and therefore less convenient than private options.

It is also not permitted for husbands to come to appointments or be present at the delivery in government maternity wards, whereas most private facilities allow husbands to be present.

The main government maternity hospital is the Hamad Women's Hospital in Doha, which houses Qatar's main ward for premature babies.

Unmarried Women

It is very important to be aware that it is illegal for an unmarried woman to be pregnant in Qatar. The consequences of the authorities discovering that a single woman is pregnant include jail and deportation, and even physical punishment (lashings) in some extreme circumstances.

For that reason, women who are not married and find themselves pregnant while living in Qatar should plan to head for home, or to another country. As a marriage certificate is required to have access to maternity care, even getting married after conception will not resolve the situation. Unmarried women who do leave Qatar due to becoming pregnant may also face problems if they return to Qatar after giving birth.

Terminating a Pregnancy

Abortion is legal only under certain circumstances in Qatar. An abortion can be performed if it is necessary to save the life of a pregnant woman. It can also be performed before the fifth month of pregnancy if the pregnancy would cause "certain and serious" harm to the mother, or if the baby would be born suffering severe and permanent mental or physical deficiencies. In the second case, both spouses must consent to the abortion.

Abortion in Qatar must be performed in a government hospital on the recommendation of three medical specialists.