Monday, February 11, 2008

Before and after having a baby

Before and after having a baby
By Daniel Bardsley, Staff Reporter GULF NEWS Published: November 02, 2007, 01:20

There are no events more exciting and momentous than the birth of a child, but UAE residents lucky enough to have a baby on the way must plan carefully.

The first choice facing the mother-to-be, who must be married to the child's father, is where to go for maternity care. Several public hospitals in the UAE have large maternity units, including Dubai Hospital and Al Wasl Hospital in Dubai, and women who are residents and have a valid health card can have their baby at one of these.

The exact allocation of hospital depends upon where the woman lives.

Alternatively expectant women can have their check-ups and delivery at a private hospital. This can cost several times as much as going to a public hospital, although for some women insurance pays the costs.

To organise maternity care at a public hospital, early on in the pregnancy the mother should book an appointment and take her health card, marriage certificate and her and her husband's passport copies and pay the fees.

Private hospitals require a hospital registration card. For the first seven to eight months of a pregnancy, she is likely to have a check up once a month, increasing to once a fortnight in the final weeks.

Some women pay for check-ups on a visit-by-visit basis, while others buy one of the packages on offer at public or private hospitals and clinics. These packages usually include all routine tests, with additional treatment charged extra.

About six weeks before the delivery date, mothers-to-be should ring hospitals and register at the one of their choice, if they have not done so already - this cuts paperwork once the delivery is imminent.

The cost of delivery at a public or private hospital, including the stay in hospital and routine tests, varies depending upon whether the delivery is normal or a caesarian, with the latter about twice as expensive.

Private rooms, extra nights in hospital on top of the scheduled number and twins cost extra. When the baby arrives, the hospital will issue an Arabic notification of birth letter, which the parents should use to get a birth certificate.

In Dubai, take the stamped notification of birth letter to the Al Baraha Birth Certificate Office at Al Baraha Hospital between 8am and 2pm from Sunday to Thursday. Bring original and copy passports and residence visas of both parents.

The Arabic birth certificate, which costs Dh50, will be ready in two days' time, after which, for a Dh10 translation fee and a further Dh50, you can get it translated into English.

The birth certificate must then be attested by the Ministry of Health for Dh10 - this can be done at the hospital - and then attested at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Dh50. The child's footprint may need to be taken for this.


Getting a passport

Parents with an attested birth certificate should register the child, which takes the nationality of its parents, at their embassy or consulate.

It is crucial that registration is completed and an application for residency is made within 120 days of the birth, or a fine of Dh100 per day after this period will be levied.

The parents should go to their embassy or consulate and fill in a birth registration form. They should bring the Arabic birth certificate (and possibly the English one too) along with both parents' passports and copies, birth certificates and their marriage certificate. The birth will be registered and a passport issued.

Parents can also apply for a birth certificate from their own country.

Once the passport is issued, parents should apply for a residence visa. This can take a couple of days.

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