Having a baby in Dubai should not be more difficult than having a baby elsewhere. However, as an ex-pat there are a few extra things to think about which you wouldn’t necessarily have to worry about in your home country. I have written this from a UK ex-pat perspective, but it applies to most ex-pats.
- Insurance. This was a totally new concept to me and it is so, so important. If you are coming to Dubai already pregnant you need to make sure that your insurance will still cover you, as often pregnancy is classed as ‘an existing condition’ and many insurance companies will not cover you for pregnancy for the first 6-12 months of the policy. Ensure you also have extensive cover for your newborn. This can be expensive but it is definitely worth it. Many insurance policies cover you for around $8k for routine pregnancy. In my view this should be the minimum cover you should get and you should also make sure you have cover for complications of pregnancy.
- Hospitals. The local hospitals are known to be very good. I know a lot of ex-pats choose to give birth at the private hospitals and City Hospital (MediClinic) and the American Hospital seem to be the most popular. You can either choose an obstetrician who is ‘in-house’ at a hospital or one at an external clinic who is attached to the hospital. I have done both and there are advantages of each approach. As my second pregnancy is high risk I sought out a specialist who has his own clinic and delivers at City Hospital. However, often this means you have to ‘pay and claim’ as a lot (not all) clinics do not provide direct billing like the hospitals generally do.
- Stock-Up. Generally things are more expensive in Dubai, that includes vitamins, maternity clothes and baby things. I am a big Boots fan and so before moving here I stocked up on the Pregnancare 3 for 2 vitamin offers. I also bought the majority of my maternity clothes in the UK, at H&M, New Look and online at ASOS. They have these shops (or ASOS online) here too but their selection is smaller and it is more expensive. I found that I live in lightweight maternity trousers and a couple of maternity dresses. A maternity swimsuit is a must too (I searched high and low for one when I moved here and found only a couple which I didn’t like and which were very expensive).
- PO Box. Getting a PO Box was not as straightforward as I originally imagined. You can buy a PO Box from Emirates Post but this very much depends on where you live. However hard I tried I just couldn’t seem to get one where we live, in Downtown Dubai. Most people use their work addresses and I think this is the simplest option! I wouldn’t rely on the post entirely but it’s great to be able to give an address to friends and family so you don’t miss out on the cards, etc. when your bundle of joy arrives.
- Documents. We’ve learnt the hard way that they love documents over here. You most definitely need to be married to have a baby out here and I’d recommend that you ensure that you change your passport (if you haven’t already) to your new name. I’d recommend that you bring all your important documents with you, plus copies. We needed to have some documents attested for visa purposes and this ended up being quite costly. So I would suggest you check what documents your need for visa and insurance purposes before you come over. It is much easier to sort these things whilst you are still in the UK, than out here. For birth certificates, I will do a separate blog as I am still working this out but I am certain you will need one or both of your birth certificates plus your marriage certificate.