I often get asked about my experience of having a baby in Dubai: What was it like? Is the medical care any good? Does my child have UAE citizenship?
I’ll tackle the last question first. No, Wee Scotch does not get automatic UAE citizenship. It’s near impossible to do so if a child is born from expat parents. Only 10% (if that much) of UAE population is Emirati and they like to keep it that way. So an expat child who is born in Dubai is stateless at birth basically. Since I am American and Scotch is British, Wee Scotch now has dual-citizenship and holds passports and birth certificates from both the US and the UK. I’ll go into our experience with that process in Part 2 or Part 3 or however long it will take me to tell the story.
Okay, so in short, Dubai being a third world country, it was quite a hardship to have a baby here.
You know I’m kidding right? (I hope I didn’t just scare anyone out there reading this.)
I don’t know how Dubai ranks, exactly, in medical care but I would say that it has excellent medical facilities and healthcare providers. You can choose between private healthcare (very expensive as in any other country unless you are rich or have insurance) or government healthcare (practically free or very low cost).
Because Scotch’s insurance covered it, I choose the very fancy-schmancy private facilities of “American Hospital” where all the doctors and nurses are North American board certified or equivalent – because being American, that’s what I felt comfortable with, this being my first pregnancy.
What’s with the fancy-schmancy part? Well, it’s rumored that you get champagne served to you after your delivery. Yeah, that totally didn’t happen to me so I think next time I need to find another hospital. (Kidding, only kidding.) Maybe that new “City Hospital” that just opened up in Healthcare City will serve me champagne.
Side Note: Private hospitals are so expensive (hm…or maybe my insurance provider is just stingy) that I actually will be relegated to the government hospital route if I have a 2nd baby in Dubai because I used up my lifetime allotment of insurance funds for maternity costs. Oh well. I think it costs about 25,000 dhs ($6,800) for a natural birth (including all doctor visits, ultrasounds, etc) for private care versus 8,000 dhs ($2,200) for public care. I have no idea how that compares with giving birth in the US or UK.
In short, I felt medically very well-cared for in Dubai, I really liked my OB/GYN, wait-times at the clinic/hospital weren’t too bad (15-20 minutes at most), facilities were clean and modern, receptionists were semi-friendly, and everything was direct-billed to my insurance company (except for the 6,000 dhs that I went over and above my annual maternity limit and had to pay by credit card – good thing I didn’t have a C-section cuz I think that’s an additional 10k dhs or $3000 on top of everything!).
I do want to say that I had an uncomplicated pregnancy and delivery. In other words, I never had to test the ability of my doctor nor the hospital of dealing with any issues and so I often wonder if I would have such positive things to say about my experience had I had any real complications.