A newcomer to the market having opened its doors in October 2016, you might have noticed its tagline on the billboards lining Sheikh Zayed Road: "A hospital manned almost entirely by women". With 14 doctors and 22 midwives in the obstetrics and gynaecology department, it is headed up by UK-trained consultant ob-gyn Dr Paramjit Luthra. The department says it is fully equipped to deal with pregnancies across the full spectrum, from normal labour to high-risk pregnancies with babies requiring NICU care from as young as 24 weeks gestation.

Dr Luthra heads up the ob-gyn department at Medcare Women and Children's Hospital

WHAT ARE THE DOCTORS LIKE?
Dr Luthra is a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist with 40 years of extensive clinical and teaching experience in the UK and the UAE. She is associated with the Dubai Health Authority and is also a member of the Emirates Medical Association and the International Fertility Society. Dr Luthra is an authority in high risk obstetrics, the surgical management of difficult operative deliveries and the management of infertility and assisted reproductive treatments, to name a few. “We offer a complete approach to healthcare for women,” explains Dr Luthra. “Our gynaecologists perform many types of procedures to treat both common and rare gynaecologic conditions, working with other specialists to provide the most appropriate care for patients. They provide minimally invasive treatment whenever possible to reduce patient discomfort and promote more rapid healing.” Dr Luthra is joined by 14 ob-gyn doctors, see the full list here.

WHAT ARE THE MIDWIVES LIKE?
The obstetrics department has 12 midwives and is headed up by head midwife, Sister Asma. She believes that women coming into the hospital to give birth need full support and empathy from the midwives. “Based on this belief, I try my best to help, support and work as the patients advocate during every moment of the women’s birthing experience and, at the same time, keep my eyes open so I can secure 100% safe delivery for the woman and her baby. As the head of the labour room, I endeavour to ensure that this spirit is practised by every team member in the department.”

Medcare Women and Children Hospital

ANTENATAL PACKAGES
The obstetrics department at Medcare Women and Children Hospital offers two antenatal packages; The 12 week package costs Dh6,700 and includes 11 follow up consultations and all the required ultrasound screenings and blood work ups. The second package starts at 28 weeks gestation with 5 follow up consultations, two ultrasound screenings and relevant blood work and costs Dh4,850.

WHAT IF I HAVE A HIGH-RISK PREGNANCY?
The hospital says it has the amenities and services to provide care for high risk pregnancy patients. It told us that  mothers are usually screened beforehand and educated about the precautions that they need to take during their pregnancy. The hospital also has a fully equipped, tertiary level NICU unit which deals with all the high risk neonates with different complexities.

WHAT IF MY NEWBORN NEEDS EMERGENCY TREATMENT?
The Medcare Women and Children Hospital NICU has 13 beds including two isolations beds. Last year, around 105 pre-term babies as young as 24 weeks gestation were discharged successfully.

Medcare Women and Children Hospital Dubai labour and delivery room

WHAT IS THE C-SECTION RATE?
We were told that the department reports 20% C-section rates.

WHAT IS THE INDUCTION RATE?
 We were told that the induction rates in the department are 15%.

WHAT'S THE POLICY ON BIRTH PARTNERS?
Only husbands are allowed in the normal delivery room, as well as the surgical theatre for C-sections.

WHAT ARE THE ALTERNATIVE BIRTHING FACILITIES?
The hospital's policy is to be open to accommodate any birth plans that the parents wish for, as long as it is safe for the baby and the mother and comply with MOH regulations. The facility does not currently offer water-birthing facilities.

WHAT'S OFFERED IN TERMS OF BREASTFEEDING AND POSTNATAL CARE?
The hospital says that new mothers are encouraged to breastfeed and that the department has nurses on hand to educate the mothers on breastfeeding techniques. The length of stay for patients depends on the individual case but standard (not requiring further medical attention) is two night for normal delivery and three nights for C-section.

SKIN-TO-SKIN POLICY?
The department says it is an advocate of skin-to-skin policy and, unless the baby requires immediate extra care, will be carried out in 100% of cases. Kangaroo Care (skin-to-skin) is an important art of caring for neonates in the NICU.

NEWBORN VACCINATIONS?
BCG and Hep B vaccinations are routine for all newborns.

Medcare Women and Children Hospital Dubai deluxe room

HOW MANY ROOMS ARE THERE?
The department has six labour delivery rooms in addition to 39 private rooms out of which four are royal suites and three are deluxe rooms.

DO I NEED TO BOOK IN ADVANCE?
 Only patients wanting a royal suite or a deluxe room are required to book in advance.

WILL MY INSURANCE DO DIRECT BILLING?
The billing department is always ready to help and guide patients in their enquiries about insurance and billing. See here for a full list.

HOW MUCH WILL IT COST?
 The hospital has two basic packages for delivery:
Normal Delivery – Dh12,150 including two days' stay in a one-bed suite but excluding epidural (extra Dh2,400)
C- Section – Dh21,600 including three days' stay in a one-bed suite
Full details of inclusions and exclusions are available from the hospital direct.

SO WHAT IS IT ACTUALLY LIKE TO GIVE BIRTH THERE?
Kirsty Radley, mum to three-year-old twins Ella and Caleb, gave birth to her third child, Isaac, at Medcare Women and Children Hospital. Here's her feedback (all opinions and reviews relate to the individual's personal experience and are not the opinion of Baby & Child):

 "I gave birth at the end of July 2016 a few weeks after the hospital had opened. I chose the hospital because of its location to home (just off Sheikh Zayed road, with valet parking) and because it was part of our insurance network. I had a really positive experience; the doctors and nurses were friendly, knowledgable and very reassuring, especially when I was heading into theatre for my C-section and had a wobble - they calmed me down and listened to my concerns. The midwives were very friendly and it was good that I had the same midwife each shift. It wasn't very busy as the hospital was very new. I've since been back with my son when he was admitted for three nights in November 2016 and it was definitely busier, but I felt that it didn't compromise the care he received.
"The rooms are fantastic, they look and feel like a hotel. After delivering at another hospital previously I packed my eye mask to ensure I could sleep. At Medcare each room has a solid door so at night you can use the black out blinds to keep it dark and it's very quiet. The food was also really good, they have since opened a little cafe in the reception as well and it's just off Al Wasl so you can always order in delivery.
"After my C-section I had a visit from the resident physio, who came to show me how to get in and out of bed and exercises that I could do to help with the healing process. She visited everyday for a 20-minute session. My follow up with the Ob Gyn was 10 days later and my little boy had a follow up a week after discharge.
"In terms of things that could be improved, it would be great if they could out a proper sofa bed in the room for your husband to stay over. The chaise longue looks great but it's not terribly practical!
"Overall I had a great experience. It helps that the hospital is new as they've got lots of the latest technology and it's a pleasant  environment. There is an outside garden and swimming pool on the roof, as well as a self-playing grand piano in reception - only in Dubai!"

Have you given birth at Medcare Women and Children Hospital? Please contact us on babyandchild@gulfnews.com if you would like to share your experience, or post comments below.