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Pregnancy in Dubai, UAE

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Pregnant, Pregnancy, Childbirth and Giving Birth in Dubai and UAE

How to get pregnant in Dubai

How not to get pregnant in Dubai

None of what is written here should be taken as any sort of advice, or legal or moral opinion. It is intended to be information reflecting how things are in Dubai and the UAE based on our experiences of living in the country. If you are unsure about anything medically related, you should get a doctor's opinion (a real one, not an internet one or from Dr House). If you are sure about anything medically related, you should still get a doctor's opinion anyway, especially if your confidence came from reading something on this page, Wikipedia, internet discussion forums or blogs, Facebook, or any other websites, or from talking to one or more friends or family members.

Abortion and unwanted pregnancies in the UAE

Maternity Care, Pre-Natal, Post-Natal, Ante-Natal Care, Delivery

Update 23 December 2010 (Khaleej Times): Delivery fees at UAE government hospitals will increase in January 2011 to AED 5,000 for natural births, and AED 8,000 for ceasarean section (previously AED 2,500 for natural birth and AED 5,000 for c-section). Or double that to AED 10,000 and AED 16,000 for those not holding a UAE health card. The same report said private hospital fees ranged from AED 6,000 to AED 25,000.

You can visit a Government Hospital with a health card to pay low fees for care and delivery. There will be extra charges if there are complications and/or you choose to have a private room (usually a few hundred dhs per day). Al Wasl Hospital near the Wafi Center seems to be the preferred choice of many opting for delivery in a Government Hospital but other options include Al Maktoum and Rashid Hospitals. See further below for contact details and individual hospital comments.

You'll need a government health card, marriage certificate, passport copies for you and your husband, and possibly some evidence of where you live (rent contract, phone bill, DEWA bill). Phone the hospital of your choice to find out when to go and register.

If you have private medical insurance (which includes pregnancy) or lots of money, then you can try one of the private hospitals like American hospital, Welcare hospital, or start with one of the private gynaecological clinics in Dubai. Delivery fees at Welcare and American hospital start from about AED 10,000-20,000 depending on whether or not you have a ceasarean section. Al Zahra Hospital in Sharjah (they have a medical clinic in Dubai on Sheikh Zayed Road for check-ups and tests but deliveries are performed at the hospital in Sharjah) may be a bit cheaper.

Some hospitals offer ante-natal packages for example about 4,000 dhs at American Hospital for visits and tests (not including delivery though).

Dubai Healthcare City (behond the Wafi Center) has a variety of clinics catering to all medical needs, including a hospital and other specialist services.

[Price update needed] If you are pregnant without insurance in Dubai and don't have much money, try one of these (prices for pregnancy and delivery packages valid ~2012-2015):

[Update needed] If you are a pregnant tourist who ends up in a situation where you need to give birth in the UAE, you'll either have to go to a private hospital or pay a higher fee at a government hospital. Government hospitals require a government issued health card or Emirates ID card which is only given to citizens and legal residents.

Married and pregnant

If you are married, your main concern will be where to have your baby, where to buy baby food, maternity dresses and baby clothes, where to do yoga classes while pregnant, and a few years later, how many grandchildren you'll have. Phone the hospitals listed to get an idea of cost and waiting times for baby delivery appointments and procedures. For the rest, supermarkets are well stocked with baby food, and shopping malls have plenty of shops with clothing for you and your offspring. We can't help you with the grandchildren question though.

Unmarried and pregnant in Dubai

If you're not married and get pregnant in Dubai, you'll be in a bit of trouble. A girlfriend/boyfriend defacto relationship in Dubai is illegal, sort of ... the relationship might be a grey area legally but the having sex part of it is what is illegal when the two people involved are not married to each other. There are many cases of unmarried mothers in Dubai ending up in jail (with their baby) after delivery, followed by deportation on completion of their sentence, because giving birth out of wedlock, or being pregnant, can be used as evidence of having had illegal sex. Rather than end up in that situation, you can either leave the UAE and go to your home country, or get a wedding organised in a hurry. Bear in mind that there are flying restrictions depending on how close to delivery you are so if you are unlikely to get married before giving birth, get your exit from the UAE organised as soon as possible.

It's not clear how you'd be treated if you were not married and had sex in another country where it was legal, got pregnant, then came to the UAE while pregnant and attepted to give birth in the UAE as a single mother. We'd suggest you not test that series of events given that the outcome for getting it wrong is likely to be a jail sentence. However, giving birth in another country as a single mother does not prevent you from legally visiting or living in the UAE.

There are many women in the UAE who are single, widowed, or divorced supporting their own children back in their home country. It is also possible to reside in the UAE with your children even if they were born outside of marriage, but there might be some restrictions on profession and/or minimum income to obtain a residency visa. Being an unmarried mother in the UAE is not illegal as long as the becoming a mother part of your status was done outside the UAE.

Being pregnant and unmarried and visiting the UAE as a tourist is not in itself illegal (as far as we know, and many women do that with no problems), but if something happens to you which requires a hospital visit in the UAE (whether a miscarriage or something unrelated to your pregnancy), and the hospital notifies the police of your pregnancy, the police could conceivably investigate whether or not you had illegal sex in the UAE. However unlikely this situation sounds, it's worth considering, especially if planning a visit in the summer when the extreme heat might affect you more than you expect.

For women who are married but get pregnant as a result of liason with someone other than their husband, the authorities are unlikely to investigate since they'll usually assume that a married woman's child has been fathered by her husband. If a complaint is made by her husband (or someone else), then the police might investigate.

Procedure and paperwork for giving birth in Dubai

Nationality and Passports of Children Born in Dubai

Babies born in the UAE will not have UAE nationality (unless the father is Emirati), they will receive the same nationality as the father by default. Receiving the mother's nationality depends on the laws of the country the mother is from.

As soon as the child is born, you should start getting a passport organised. It is not advisable to include children on your own passport, get them separate passports. You have up to 4 months from the date of birth to get passports organised. After that, babies get fined 100 dhs per day. This procedure can be tedious but you'll get there in the end. Allow a few days or a couple of weeks for all the paperwork to be completed.

Take the baby's birth certificate along with parent's birth certificates, marriage certificate, passports and copies to your embassy or consulate and fill in a birth registration form and passport application form. After the passport is issued, apply for a residence visa for the wee tyke. Minimum working age in the UAE is 18 (or 15 for some jobs) so you have some time before needing to get a work permit organised.

Contact details and hospital comments

In general terms, the major noticeable difference between private hospitals and government hospitals (apart from cost) is that there is a significant lack of 'customer care' in government hospitals. Medically, there's probably not that much difference but you'll definitely feel a lot more comfortable about it all in a good private hospital. This applies to Dubai and probably Abu Dhabi. In the smaller emirates, many expats would advise you to go to one of the better hospitals in Dubai or maybe Sharjah for important medical procedures like childbirth. You should certainly try and visit the hospitals on your short list for giving birth, to form an opinion.

For some difficult/unusual situations, private hospitals will send patients to government hospitals anyway (eg premature babies needing an ICU unit).

Last update Saturday 25-Jul-2015
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