Travel, lifestyle, family.

Having a baby in Qatar? Here’s my experience with the Cuban Hospital.

12 November, 2019
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Hold your horses, I am NOT pregnant again! πŸ˜€ This post is completely spontaneous (unlike both of my pregnancies πŸ˜‰ ) and refers to my previous experience with the Cuban Hospital in Qatar.

Ok, there’s a risk that if you’re, say, a guy in your 20s living in the UK, you might not find it interesting. We have a saying in Poland that can be roughly translated as: “Don’t expect everyone to like you, you’re not a bowl of tomato soup.” (don’t ask… πŸ˜€ ). Skip this post if you wish, read on if you’re curious. πŸ™‚

So what’s the big deal? Well, even though I’ve left Qatar for the time being, I’m still an active member of a couple of kids-related local Facebook groups. There’s one question there that always comes back like a boomerang, a question I’ve already answered multiple times, trying to bring some peace of mind to pregnant ladies who didn’t know what to expect. Funny enough, it’s a question I keep on being asked, even though I’m already in Poland.

*enter drumroll*

“So how does having a baby in a public hospital in Qatar work??”

I remember when I was pregnant with Adam back in 2014, I was so freaked out by the possibility of having my baby in some scary foreign hospital, that I took 6 months of unpaid leave in the office and flew my chicken ass back to Poland. There, I happily paid an unreasonable amount of money to have my baby safely taken out of me (c-section mom here!). Little had I known that my life would be so much more simple if I decided to stay put. All the hassle of logistics – first having to travel by myself, 7 months pregnant, then having to arrange a trip back with a 3-month-old baby, my husband and my mom.

After I settled in Doha with baby Adam, I started to get bits and pieces of information about how the delivery would look like in Qatar. I zeroed in on the Cuban Hospital and made up my mind, way in advance, that my next baby will be born right there.

So Baby Danny was born a year ago in Dukhan (or Zekreet, according to his passport…). Contrary to what my panicking brain had been imagining, it was an amazing experience which I’ll be happy to share with you.

How do I make sure to deliver in a public hospital of my choice?

It’s pretty simple. I had my prenatal appointments in a private clinic (Let me take this opportunity to recommend Dr. Naima Ouahrani! Amazing, professional, with a lovely bedside manner.). When I communicated to Dr. Naima that I would like to deliver in the Cuban Hospital, she gave me a referral letter. This letter then had to be e-mailed to nesmaak@hamad.qa with some extra information and attachments. They replied the next day to confirm that my request is being processed, and 2 days later I’ve received a call from Cuban Hospital to arrange my first appointment. Note, though that you have to be at least 30 weeks pregnant to request such an appointment.

See below a screenshot of the e-mail I’ve sent, for easy reference.

sample e-mail with hospital referral in Qatar
Sample e-mail to be sent to Hamad Hospital, with a referral.

Can I choose my doctor for the appointments at the hospital?

Technically, it is possible, if you insist and already know who would you like to follow up with. When I got a call from the Cuban Hospital, they asked me if I’m fine with the fact that my doctor is male (I was, and Dr. Sergio was a great choice. Sadly, I don’t think he works there anymore…). Each doctor is seeing patients on specific days (for example, Dr. Sergio was available on Tuesdays), and if their daily schedule is not fully packed, you can get transferred to them. Similarly, you have a choice of who your doctor will be during delivery (that’s for the scheduled c-section of course. Otherwise you never know πŸ™‚ ). You discuss the c-section date on one of your last appointments and the doctor books you in.

corridor in the Cuban Hospital in Qatar

Can my husband be present during appointments and delivery?

In most public hospitals, sadly, no. I’ve heard a rumor (it would be hilarious if it turned out to be correct!) that husbands tended to faint and throw up during deliveries, so they were banned. πŸ˜€ The exception here is the Cuban Hospital (one of the reasons why I chose it!), where husbands can be present during appointments as well as during natural birth. The only hospital that allows the husband’s presence during a c-section is Sidra.

Are elective c-sections allowed in Qatar?

They were when I was delivering Danny. However, I’ve heard that these days public hospitals in Qatar are refusing such requests. Which makes sense at some level, given all the circulating stories about ladies scheduling their deliveries around their husband’s work schedules, or their family arrangements…

delivery in the Cuban Hospital in Qatar

So how does the delivery go?

With natural delivery – you go with the flow, obviously πŸ˜€ With a scheduled c-section – it is a whole process. They asked me to arrive at the hospital the evening before delivery (probably because Cuban is 1h drive away from Doha). I settled in a room and was woken up at 5 am to prep me for surgery. There were three c-sections scheduled that day, in no particular order. I went in first because, as one of the nurses put it, I listened to them and was ready before anyone else πŸ˜€ Duh, Type-A gal here! The whole delivery took maybe an hour and it was as comfortable as it could get. They then rolled me into the recovery room where I stayed for 2 hours under the watchful eye of a nurse. Then I went back to the room where hubby was waiting with baby D. πŸ™‚

delivery in the Cuban Hospital in Qatar

What about the rooms? Are they comfy?

I know that what you really want to know is “are the rooms single or double”? I was told that all rooms in WWRC and Sidra are single. In Cuban, it’s a mix. I got a single room, but I know that they save double room for times when the ward is full and will try to relocate you as soon as a single room becomes available.

Another good news is, if you land a single room, your hubby can stay with you through the night. There’s a foldable single sofa bed (not too comfy, but does the job) for him to sleep on.

And the Cuban Hospital staff?

I didn’t know what to expect as I’ve heard mixed reviews in the past, especially about the nurses. Luckily, my experience is nothing but positive. All the doctors were absolutely amazing. I do understand why some of the new moms were not quite happy with the nurses. The lovely Cuban ladies have balls, sometimes showing new mommies some tough love. Personally, I didn’t mind it at all. I actually grew to appreciate it, their attitude kept me in good mental shape, too much love would make me whiny. πŸ˜‰ They were brilliant in taking care of both me and the baby and that’s what was most important at the time. Unicorns and rainbows are good for restaurant and airport staff πŸ˜‰

How much did it all cost?

I spent 3 days in the Cuban Hospital and it costed me around QAR 600, including super huge meals and medicine. Please note though that such price applies only to the citizens and residents in Qatar. If you deliver on a visit visa, you’ll pay much more.

Finally, what’s next?

After your baby is born, you need to apply for a birth certificate. You can do it in the hospital itself, it only takes 5 minutes. You will have to fill in a form and provide the following:

— original + copy of both parents’ passports,

— a valid RP,

— original + copy of vaccination booklet and notification of live birth (you’ll get that from the hospital),

— a copy of the marriage certificate.

***

Overall, I am extremely happy that I haven’t given in to my fears once again, and I chose the Cuban Hospital in Qatar to have my baby. In the end, Qatar does come with an excellent level of health care! (read more HERE).

Questions? Hit me up at joanna@mamaintransit.com!

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