Are you insured?

Marta Olivotti, senior sales manager at Medstar Insurance Brokers, pacific prime division (, gives her tips on maternity medical insurance.

Planning: You usually need to apply for insurance 10 to 12 months before falling pregnant. If you’re already pregnant, a Dubai resident, and aren’t insured, the insurance company will add a significant loading on to the premium of your policy to include the maternity costs.

C-section: Not all insurers offer coverage for elective C-sections, but if they do it will probably be the same amount as that offered for a natural delivery (although the cost of a C-section is higher). If a doctor prescribes a C-section, find out if the coverage is part of the routine maternity benefit or if there’s an extra benefit offered by the insurer.

Health card: If you’re a Dubai resident and not insured, you can apply for a health card that entitles you to low-cost medical treatment at public hospitals and clinics. See for details on how to apply.

Working mums

Asma Bajawa, Managing Director of People First HR consultants, on maternity at work

You’re entitled to 45 calender days’ maternity leave with full pay if you have completed one year with your employer. If you haven’t, you are entitled to 45 days with half pay. If your company is registered in DIFC and you’ve finished a year, you’re entitled to 45 days at full pay and another 45 with half pay.

Many people choose not to tell their boss their good news until after the first three months, but you should check your company’s HR policy to see what is expected of you because the company needs to plan ahead.

See for more information on maternity leave.

Maternity Packages

Many hospitals offer antenatal and maternity packages that include the essential scans, tests and medical attention you need for a normal pregnancy and delivery, at more affordable prices than paying per visit. FOR A COMPARISON OF ANTENATAL AND MATERNITY PACKAGE PRICES IN HOSPITALS ACROSS DUBAI, CLICK HERE.

Alternative approaches

You may want to consider the less mainstream forms of support during pregnancy and labour


This method uses breathing and meditation techniques to prepare women for a stress-free birth

“Statistically, women who use Hypnobirthing tend to have shorter and more comfortable labours and births, and use fewer or no drugs, with less need for interventions,” says Jasmine Collin, a hypnobirthing, BabyCalm and ToddlerCalm teacher. “Hypnobirthing classes are designed with Dad in mind and are fun and interactive.”

Jasmine offers five classes held over five weeks (Dh1,900 per couple). The best time to start is between 26 and 32 weeks. Email

Other hypnobirthing teachers in Dubai

Rachel Foy (Rachel is offering an online training course later this year),,; Elizabeth Bain,, 050 421 5180.


Pronounced ‘doola’, doulas are women with experience in female physiology who offer emotional and practical support to a woman or couple before, during and after childbirth

“Ensure that your doula is trained and certified with an official governing body,” says Andrea Allen, a baby massage and yoga instructor and a doula at “Most doulas are trained by UK or US organisations and should be able to produce certificates. Also ask for a reference, and one of the most important things is chemistry – you must like and trust your doula.”

Contact or 050 911 0453.

Other doulas in Dubai

Debbie Cain,; Elizabeth Bain,; Emily Marsh,; Elizabeth El-Abed,; Brooke Bauer,; Nicky Langley,


Inserting tiny needles at specific points on the body is said to help with everything from nausea to postnatal depression

“Acupuncture and acupressure are some of the safest and least invasive choices of drug-free treatments available for pregnant and labouring women,” says Martine Nates of the Koster Clinic. “Both practices can help with a variety of issues, from morning sickness to pain relief during labour, assisting the baby to descend and engage in the pelvic cavity and even turning a breech baby. Acupuncture is also very beneficial for breastfeeding issues and postnatal depression.” Contact or 04 388 1887.

Baby’s paperwork

Facts and deadlines for registering your baby in dubai

The birth certificate: The hospital your baby is delivered in will issue a ‘notification of birth certificate’ in Arabic. For a British birth certificate, go to the Preventive Medicine Department at Al Baraha Hospital (04 271 0000). You’ll need to get both the Arabic and English certificates attested by the Ministry of Health (at Al Baraha Hospital) and Ministry of Foreign Affairs. See for more. Register your child’s birth within 30 days.

The passport: Rates and the paperwork needed will vary depending on your embassy. You need to have your baby’s passport and visa ready in 120 days, or face fines of Dh25 to Dh100 a day.

The visa: There are many documents required to process a residency visa for your newborn, including the baby’s passport and birth certificates (English and Arabic) and the sponsor’s salary letter or employment contract. It involves you visiting the residency section at the General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs (800 5111) and the passport and visa will be couriered to you once it’s completed. The visa costs Dh100 per year with another Dh115 in adding fees. You have 120 days to apply for a residency visa – if you fail to do this the child may not be allowed to leave the UAE and the legal guardian must pay a Dh100 fine for each day over the 120-day period. See for more.

The Emirates id: You need a passport-size colour photo of the baby, the baby’s original passport, the father’s original passport and the baby’s original birth certificate. You have 120 days to get the ID done or face a fine of up to Dh1,000. An Emirates ID for one year costs Dh170, two years costs Dh270, and three years costs Dh370.

No time to do it all yourself?

Dubai-based company Baby Steps ( will apply for you. Its birth certificate attestation service starts from Dh570 and the company will also attest your marriage certificate (Dh305). You will need to apply for your baby’s passport yourself, but Baby Steps will deliver the relevant paperwork to you – for free – with your birth certificate. Its visa application service costs Dh1,510 (for a two-year visa).


Aside from being really good for your baby, breastfeeding is also a wonderful way to bond. Don’t forget that what you eat influences the taste of your milk (and may cause gas) so take it easy with the chilli and garlic

“The biggest misconception about breastfeeding is ... that it’s easy,” says breastfeeding peer counsellor Andrea Allen. “Some babies latch easily, but many need help. Breastfeeding shouldn’t hurt, so if it does, something is not right and you should get help immediately.” – Andrea Allen, The Doting Doulas, 050 911 0453

Breast pumps

Dr Bertille Bouvier of Koster Clinic says, “breast pumps are great for building up your milk supply, or to enable you to continue feeding your baby breast milk when you return to work.”

Breast pumps can be hired from the Koster Clinic. A one-hour breastfeeding consultation with Dr Bouvier costs Dh480,

Taking breastfeeding classes in the third trimester can help you get off to the best start from the first feed, which should happen within 30-60 minutes of the birth. Amy Vogelaar’s three-hour Breastfeeding Basics workshop costs Dh350 per couple.

“The most common regret I hear from new mums is that they didn’t learn more about breastfeeding before baby arrived.” – Amy Vogelaar, breastfeeding educator and counsellor

La Leche League

Holds free monthly meetings for breastfeeding mothers on the third Sunday of every month 10am-12pm in Abu Dhabi, or every other month on a Thursday evening. Contact

Breastfeeding Q&A Dubai UAE

Is a friendly and supportive Facebook group of mums who can answer all your nursing questions, plus it offers many useful resources, including lists of the cafés and malls around town with the best nursing facilities.

Stem cell collection

Many companies are now offering to collect and store your baby’s cord blood after your delivery

 Kazal Ahmed of Smart Cells says,“Cord blood is the blood that remains in the umbilical cord and placenta after your baby is born and contains stem cells that can be cryo-preserved for later use in medical therapies, such as stem cell transplants for leukaemia, thalassaemia and cerebral palsy or clinical trials of new stem-cell therapies.” Smart Cells charges Dh12,500 (cord blood) to Dh15,500 (cord blood and tissue) for 25 years’ storage.

Visit, or email for details.

Darryn Keast of Med Cell says, ”Research your cord blood bank’s history, accreditations, insurance policy and facility location. Make sure you fully agree with all terms and conditions before signing up.” Med Cell charges from Dh9,900 to Dh12,500 for 20 years’ storage. Visit or email

Meet other mums

Aquarius Mummy mornings

Aquarius magazine holds regular mummy mornings where you can chat with other mums, ask our friendly parenting experts any questions you wish, and come away with a nice goodie bag. Follow us on or email to get on the mailing list for details on our next event.

Expat Bumps & Babes

ExpatWoman’s coffee mornings are great for pregnant ladies and new mums to catch up on some good old-fashioned grown-up chitchat. For details email

Baby Sensory

These baby development classes involve singing and sensory play, and are a chance to meet other mums with babies the same age. Visit

Playdates and playgroups

Join the Facebook group Playdates for Moms&Children Dubai to be invited to meet-ups at kid-friendly venues in the city.

Eat right

While being pregnant is the perfect excuse to eat as much ice cream as you like, you do need to make sure you’re getting enough nutrients...

“There’s no need to eat more in the first three months of pregnancy, but you need to add about 350 calories a day from the second trimester. In your last term, you can add another hundred calories per day, so about 450 extra in total.” – Hala Abu Taha, dietician at The Right Bite Nutrition Centre

Right Bite’s Balanced Mom programme (Dh3,810 including the initial consultation) is a 24-day custom diet plan designed for pregnant women. See, or telephone 04 338 8763.

“Food-borne bacteria Listeria monocytogenes can pass through the placenta and cause serious pregnancy complications. Avoid raw or smoked fish, oysters, unpasteurised cheeses and milk, undercooked meat or hot dogs. Toxoplasma gondii is a parasite that can be transferred from mother to foetus and can cause birth defects, so skip raw or undercooked meats and dirty fruit or vegetable peels. It is also found in cat faeces so get your husband to change the litter.” – Lama Dalloul, dietician at Health Factory.

Health Factory’s Baby Love (for pregnant women) and The Come Back (for after the birth) packages cost Dh3,250 each for 24 days and consist of seven

calorie-counted, portion-controlled daily meals delivered to your door. See, or call 04 347 3808 or 04 232 2400.

Baby massage

Massage is a great way to bond with your baby. To keep it comfortable, don’t massage just before or after a meal

Debbie Cain from Bumps and Beyond says, “Babies crave skin contact and through touch you communicate love, security and trust, allowing you to understand your baby’s subtle non-verbal language. Never apply any pressure to a baby’s spine, joints and skull as these won’t have fused yet.”

Debbie offers group and individual baby massage classes. Email

Infant massage instructor Amy Vogelaar says, “You can start massaging your baby from birth. Newborns have a short attention span but get huge benefits from massage. Make sure you stroke the tummy in a clockwise and/or downward direction to work with the digestive system and not against it.”

Amy’s classes run over five weeks and cost Dh650, or Dh600 if you refer a friend who registers. Contact her at 050 329 8208, or

Also check out

Antenatal classes

“A good antenatal class should cover everything from birth to pain relief and what to expect from your baby, as well as information about feeding,” says midwife Cecile De Scally. “I recommend husbands attend because they are your best form of support.” Cecile’s antenatal classes start from Dh1,100 to Dh2,300. Contact her at 055 588 6298, or

“My top tips are to listen to your baby and feed on demand. You are the best parent you can be and, without a doubt, the best parent for your child, so go with your gut instinct,” says doula and founder of, Andrea Allen. For Andrea’s antenatal classes contact her at 050 911 0453, or

“My antenatal class is centred around the BabyCalm method, which covers the arrival of your baby, coping with colic and crying, weaning and sleeping, offering suggestions rather than prescriptive ways for raising babies,” says childbirth educator, Amy Vogelaar. Amy’s three-hour BabyCalm antenatal workshop costs Dhs350.,, 050 329 8208.

Also check out

The BabyCalm Mother and Baby Class (Dh700), an eight-hour course over four weeks, teaches mums about touch therapy, bonding, calming a crying baby, soothing colic, cluster feeding, baby wearing and more. The two-and-a-half hour Babycalm Baby-Led Weaning Workshop (Dh250) helps you understand current weaning guidelines and why babies feeding themselves can lead to less fussy, healthier eaters.

Placenta encapsulation

Eating your placenta is called placentophagy and, while it’s not a new idea, it’s recently been getting a lot of attention. Placenta encapsulation costs around Dh1,500 but the price may vary

“Immediately following the birth of your baby, your placenta – which is full of essential hormones, vitamins and minerals – is collected, then dehydrated and ground into a fine powder and placed into capsules,” says placenta specialist at One Fly Owl, Brooke Bauer. “You take them for the first six weeks following your baby’s birth to help you avoid post-partum blues, ease post-partum pain, boost energy levels, and increase milk supply.

Make sure your placenta specialist is certified and that their training includes a specific certification with blood-borne pathogens and food manufacturing to ensure the safe handling of your placenta.” Contact, or 050 830 8356 for details.

Other placenta specialists

Elizabeth Bain, 050 421 5180; Julie Mallon,, 056 115 6134.

Feeling blue?

If you’re struggling after the birth of your baby, don’t suffer alone – there are places where you can turn for support

Some women go through a brief period of feeling emotional and tearful after having a baby; this is known as the ‘baby blues’. It usually starts around three to four days after the baby is born and affects around 85 per cent of new mums. It is so common that it is considered normal and usually doesn’t last long.

However, some new mothers develop a much deeper and longer-term depression known as postnatal depression (PND). It usually develops within the first few weeks of giving birth and can come on gradually or all of a sudden and can range in severity. The symptoms include low mood lasting at least two weeks. Depending on the severity, you may struggle to look after yourself and your baby or find simple tasks difficult to manage.

PND support group Out Of The Blues holds monthly coffee mornings, or you can contact them on Facebook via the Out of the Blues page, or email Information courtesy of

Other sources of support

LifeWorks 04 394 2464;;

Sleep training 101

Does it seem like everyone else’s little one is sleeping through the night apart from yours? baby sleep experts give their advice on helping you through those difficult early days…

“Sleep is not a natural instinct with which a baby is born. It’s a skill that must be taught, in the same way parents would teach their child to walk. It’s important to determine where the baby should sleep and to establish a predictable and a consistent nap and bedtime routine. Over-tiredness can make it difficult for babies to fall asleep and can cause increased waking in the early morning hours.” – Julie Mallon

For details on Julie’s sleep coaching, email or

“Sleep training is not all about leaving a baby to cry – it’s about starting right and following through.” – Cecile De Scally

Cecile offers home visits and two Skype sessions (Dh1,000) or a long Skype session plus two shorter visits for Dh750. For detials see, or contact, 055 588 6298.

Other sleep specialists in Dubai; Sophie Grace Jones, 050 3797519.

Baby wearing

“Baby wearing is a method for carrying your baby in a sling, wrap, or structured carrier, allowing your baby to be close to you while freeing up your arms to do other things,” says Sarah Lander of the Dubai Babywearing Facebook group, which runs monthly coffee mornings where you can try out different slings. “Baby wearing in Western society declined with the introduction of the stroller, but is making a comeback. People are wearing their babies in places that are not conducive to wheeling a pram around, or even just to be closer to their baby.”

For more information, search for Dubai Babywearing on Facebook, or email


*Antenatal package prices vary depending on what stage in the pregnancy you are at when you buy them, while delivery packages vary depending on whether you use in-house hospital doctors or bring your own community doctor (who you will have to pay separately). We’ve featured only the basic packages – some don’t cover epidurals, instrumental delivery, multiple births, etc, so check the fine print.

**In order to give birth at this government-run hospital you need a valid health card.