Giving Birth in Dubai.
I gave birth to my first child 10 days before my 40th birthday. It was the best birthday present I could have ever wished for. In fact, I didn’t even celebrate my birthday because giving birth to a healthy baby was more than enough of a celebration. It was just as COVID-19 pandemic hit the world and quarantine had started to trickle into society in the UAE.
I only met ‘the one’ when I had just turned 37, so it really was a dream come true to have fallen in love, settled down, marry, and have a baby – all in two years! But let me get to the point of this blog and tell you about my actual pregnancy and birthing experience.
Hypnobirthing was always something I wanted to do. I also wanted to do a waterbirth. Fortunately, I had connected with Jasmin Collins who is an incredible teacher and woman. She really helped my husband and I learn more about natural methods for pain relief and mindfulness labouring. We were loaded with meditation techniques, birthing empowerment mantras and visualisations to stay calm, rational, relaxed, and educated during labour and birth.
Back in 2020, when water birthing was still relatively new in the UAE, not all hospitals had the facility for a water birth labour. Even today, in 2022, women can’t give birth in their homes. It must be in a hospital. Thankfully, at the time there were three hospitals that had water birthing facilities and one was Mediclinic City hospital. I had found an obstetrician who had mixed reviews from the birthing community in Dubai, but she was the nicest person and I felt very comfortable with her whenever I met her for a check-up appointment. She welcomed me after 36 weeks of pregnancy because I had a fall out with my previous Swedish obstetrician based in Umm Sequim, who had fat shamed me on my last visit. She told me that putting on 13 kg at 36 weeks was a lot. She said I should not be asking her ‘silly’ hypnobirthing questions on delayed cord clamping. Instead, I needed to not eat too much and focus on my weight and diet. And she even added, “French women only put on 7-8 kg.” I was very puzzled and very upset, because I had heard that between 11 kg to 16 kg was the average weight gain. Also, considering I was not French, and I was a very hormonal pregnant woman about to give birth, I felt very unsupported and disappointed in her approach.
Moving on, on the day of my birth, I had all the tools and techniques at hand. I had the following equipment packed for hypnobirthing at the hospital:
A stability ball for bouncing on and moving to help with pain management and getting the baby in the right position.
Mood lights, such as fake candles or colourful ceiling lights to calm my nerves.
An oil burner with essential oils to help my mood and create a safe and relaxing environment. I practically loved lavender, rose and frankincense essential oils.
A thin comb to use for pressure points in my hands, which alleviates pain.(Video) 🤯Birth can look like THIS (CALM PEACEFUL WATERBIRTH)🙏❤️ #birth #shorts
A long wide shawl for lifting my belly and this was used on me with help from my husband or doula.
Massage and soothing strokes from my husband and doula to keep me focused and relaxed.
A speaker to play my meditative music during the labour.
It was 18 hours of contractions with no pain relief medication or gas and air, at all. I didn’t eat anything during this time because I was so focused, I wasn’t hungry, and I didn’t sleep. Both of which I do not advise doing because you need all the energy you can get for labour.
For six hours, I was at home practicing hypnobirthing and when the pain grew more intense and the contractions were about five minutes apart, lasting about one minute over one hour, I knew it was time to go to hospital. This is known as the 5:1:1 technique in hypnobirthing. I then was taken to hospital by my husband Yousuf, and we were in the labour room for another 12 hours. I got into the water when I was six inches dilated and eventually, I gave birth in the water to our daughter, Noura, at 4:24pm on January 8th.
In hindsight, I wish someone had told me that giving birth was like pushing in a way that was like doing the biggest and toughest dookie of your life. No one ever said that to me, but had I known I would have pushed in a way that could have made my daughter come out faster, I think. Also, I soon realised that pushing on your side, with both feet on one side of the tub, or pushing with both feet on the bottom of the tub, in a squatting position, really helped speed up the birth once I was 10cm dilated. Fortunately, my doula Louise was by my side throughout the whole process holding my hand and supporting myself and my sweet (but slightly panicked) husband. Having a supportive and experienced woman who has seen many births, helping me through the pain, really highlighted my gratitude for the female community because this is how I had found her, through a network of women.
My second birthing experience, by C-Section
One thing I will say is, never expect anything to turn out as you plan because my second child was a far cry from a natural water birth. I had found a wonderful obstetrician, Dr Braithwaite, who at the time was at King’s College Hospital in Dubai Hills. They also have a wonderful water birthing room. But just like Mediclinic City hospital, it is a first come first served basis so there is no guarantee you will be able to use the room on the day. Dr Braithwaite is known for being one of the best pro natural vaginal birthing doctors in Dubai. She was known for water births which is what I had hoped for again. She is applauded for fantastic work with difficult births, and even delivering breech babies vaginally. She was one of the most wonderful doctors I had met in Dubai who was very supportive of my hypnobirthing vision of birthing.
I had been slightly disappointed with my first obstetrician who delivered Noura because she wanted me to get out of the water after an hour of active labour. No doubt, if it hadn’t been for Louise, my doula, and my midwife, who were very supportive in telling me and my previous obstetrician that I should stay longer in the water, my birthing experience would have been very different indeed. I felt like she would have taken me out of the water and made me feel stressed eventually perhaps used forceps. This is because I have heard she had used them on others and some mothers were not happy with this experience.
But back to Dr Braithwaite, and my second pregnancy. At 38 weeks my baby decided to turn into a breech position. I was told to try looking into ways to naturally turn my baby back into the best position. I retreated to ‘Spinning Babies’ with a plethora of information on how to turn breech babies around. I also tried acupuncture during the last 10 days, but sadly, none of these solutions worked and I had several questions and options about my birth to consider. Do I try an external cephalic version? Would I be prepared for an emergency C-Section if it does not work? Or do I opt for a planned C-section? After weighing all the possibilities, at 39 weeks, I decided to go for the caesarean. Dr Braithwaite was the most supportive, calm, and caring doctor throughout my decision-making process. She was even very supportive in doing a vaginal breech birth. Maybe I should have had more faith in my body to do that but the worry of having an emergency C-section was too overbearing for me. In the end, I felt that if my baby was healthy, and we were both safe, any way of giving birth was the best way. And perhaps my second daughter was teaching me a lesson in life that is that I don’t choose the birth she does.
The delivery was fast and relaxing. I am not one to like any needles going into my body, so I must admit the spinal anaesthesia and epidural was not the most pleasant of feelings. But nonetheless, I was grateful to be in good hands and that my baby girl was doing well during the C-section. I still implemented some hypnobirthing tools, and we did a delayed cord clamping so the baby would continue to get the blood flow form the placenta for longer. Did you know one minute allows baby to receive 80 ml of blood from the placenta and after three minutes this increases to 100 ml and benefits for the baby are vast? (For further information visit here).
Dr Braithwaite allowed me to put soothing music on in the operating room, she was even singing with Yousuf, my husband. After baby Nyla came out, she handed her to daddy for skin-to-skin bonding, to soothe her into the world, then later I held her in my arms, skin-to-skin, for most of 24 hours. The endorphins and oxytocin produced holding my daughter was the best feeling in the world. She was also left in vernix caseosa to help her build her immune system with antimicrobial properties. It also moisturises her skin and helps regulate her body temperature.
If anyone is looking for Dr Braithwaite, she has recently moved to HMS Mirdiff hospital. If I have an opportunity to have a third healthy birth, I will be visiting her there.
About my birth
Experts agree that laboring in water is safe and offers benefits.Are water births worth it? ›
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) says that while water may provide some benefits in the first stage of labor, there isn't evidence yet to support benefits for the baby. So, while ACOG says it's okay to labor in water, they recommend “delivering on land.”Does water birth affect the baby? ›
Yes, water births are safe. It makes no difference in how healthy babies are, and they're no more likely to have difficulty breathing or to die. In fact, some research suggests your baby is less likely to need a transfer to hospital or stay in hospital or to be admitted to neonatal intensive care.What is the difference between water birth and water labor? ›
During water immersion in labor, a person gets into a tub or pool of warm water during the first stage of labor, before the baby is born. In a waterbirth, a person remains in the water during the pushing phase and actual birth of the baby (Nutter et al. 2014a).What are the disadvantages of water birth? ›
Owing to complications, the baby could possibly stay underwater too long and their lungs could fill up with water. In a medical environment with a water birth, your delivery team would help prevent this by placing the baby with their head above water so they can get enough oxygen to breathe as soon as the baby is born.How long can a baby stay under water in a water birth? ›
This is why, during labor, your provider will frequently listen to the baby's heart rate to assess for signs of hypoxia (low oxygen levels). Any baby born underwater should be brought to the surface within 10 seconds in a gentle manner and caution is given to ensure that the baby's face doesn't go back underwater.What are 2 benefits of a water birth? ›
The benefits of water birth are mainly for the birth parent's experience and include: Reduced desire for anesthesia. Less risk of vaginal tearing. Shortened labor duration because of relaxation.How much does a water birth cost? ›
Water Birth Costs
A water birth delivery and room at the Makati Medical Clinic Water Immersion Facility for Labor and Delivery costs roughly the same as a normal simultaneous delivery in a birthing suite, around P100,000 to P120,000.
A lotus birth is the decision to leave your baby's umbilical cord attached after they are born. The umbilical cord remains attached to the placenta until it dries and falls off by itself. What are the risks of lotus birth? There are no research studies available on this topic.What should I wear during water labor? ›
You can wear what feels comfortable for you, keeping in mind that you will be in what is essentially a large bath. Many women choose to wear a bikini or tankini. Others choose to just wear a bra. You can wear a t-shirt or vest top if you want to be a little more covered.
This is because water births usually take place at home, not in a hospital, where an anesthesiologist is on hand to administer an epidural. The water also presents problems when taping in the epidural catheter, and it can compromise a woman's ability to get in and out of the tub, increasing the risk of falling.What is the least painful way to give birth? ›
Painless, normal delivery is possible by providing the mother with epidural anesthesia during labor. This is regional anesthesia that reduces pain in a certain part of the body.Are water birth babies calmer? ›
Babies born under water can be calmer following birth than babies born in air and may not cry or move vigorously. This is normal and no reason for worry. Your midwife will carefully observe you and your baby following birth, giving you any guidance and support needed.Are you less likely to tear in a water birth? ›
Warm water is thought to increase the stretching of perineal muscles and reduce your risk of tearing. Results from some studies also suggest that waterbirth may be associated with a lower incidence of significant perineal tears; however the evidence is mixed.What position do you deliver water birth? ›
Birth Positions For a Water Birth
Try kneeling, squatting, leaning, sitting or lying outstretched (face up or down. Use a snorkel if you like your face to be immersed). Some women prefer their partner to be in the tub with them to hold onto and act as an 'anchor' others prefer to be in the tub alone.
It is going to need time to recover. Your postpartum recovery won't be just a few days. Fully recovering from pregnancy and childbirth can take months. While many women feel mostly recovered by 6-8 weeks, it may take longer than this to feel like yourself again.Does waterbirth increase fetal complications? ›
The available evidence does not suggest an increased risk of adverse fetal or neonatal outcomes with water immersion during the first stage of labor.Do babies inhale water in water births? ›
Babies are born with a dive reflex. This causes babies to swallow any liquid rather than inhale it. Babies will not inhale water during a water birth.Do you go to the hospital after water birth? ›
A water birth means at least part of your labor, delivery, or both happen while you're in a birth pool filled with warm water. It can take place in a hospital, a birthing center, or at home. A doctor, nurse-midwife, or midwife helps you through it.How many hospitals in the US offer water birth? ›
Approximately 150 hospitals across the United States have birthing pools, though most only allow them to be used during labor.
HypnoBirthing techniques include relaxation, breathing, visualization, meditation, nutrition and body toning. HypnoBirthing creates a sense of shared respect between the birthing person and their healthcare support providers regardless of the birth setting, be it traditional hospital birth or an alternative setting.What is low risk pregnancy? ›
A pregnancy that has no maternal or foetal complications is considered to be a low risk pregnancy. Most pregnancy complications can easily be detected and prevented with routine prenatal care.What is better water birth or natural? ›
The immersion in warm water is secure for both the mother and fetus and positive for the mother's birthing experience, including reduced use of epidural anesthesia, improved pain management, shorter labor, and a greater sense of control during labor and delivery [5–7].Is water labor painful? ›
Laboring in water is a less painful experience since endorphins or happy hormones are released. The females feel relaxed and even the duration of labor is reduced. The warmth of the water is soothing and helps enhance the flow of oxytocin thereby making contractions all the more effective.What happens after water birth? ›
The baby continues to get oxygen through the umbilical cord, and there is no rush. When the baby's body is born, the baby comes out into the water and can be lifted out of the water by a parent, the birthing mom, the partner, or the midwife.What's the best way to give birth? ›
Squatting is a great way to give birth, as it enlarges the pelvic opening and gives gravity an opportunity to help the process. In order to squat during childbirth, keep your knees wide and feet flat and parallel to each other. Use your partner, care team, doula or a birthing bar to support you as you push.What is a golden baby? ›
A golden baby is the baby that is born after a rainbow baby. This baby signifies the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow, and the luck parents feel at having two healthy babies in a row.What is Daisy birthing? ›
A weekly class for all those who are pregnant to help you enjoy your pregnancy, stay mobile, learn about your changing baby and body, and prepare for a confident birth.What is a mermaid birth? ›
What is a mermaid birth? A mermaid birth is another term for a baby born encased inside an intact amniotic sac. In a mermaid birth, also known as an en caul birth, the baby comes out of the womb in what looks like a bubble. The bubble is filled with amniotic fluid.Do you wear a bra during labor? ›
A lot of mothers want breast coverage while they deliver, which is completely understandable, and you can keep your bra on during labor if you want. However, we recommend wearing a simple bra that is comfortable and easy to remove.
Believe it or not, your feet can get cold during labour, so a pair of soft, thick socks will ensure your toes stay toasty. Get some with non-slip soles to make it easier for you to move about during labour.How should I wear my hair during labor? ›
Braided styles provide a lot of options for expectant mothers. Weaving hair into a side braid or French braid, or adding hair extensions to create cornrows, microbraids or box braids, are cute styles that will take moms through labor, delivery and beyond.What pain relief can you have in a water birth? ›
Water is a way of providing you with pain relief during your labour. You will also be able to use Entonox (gas and air) while you are in the water if you want to. If you want further pain relief, you can have diamorphine injections.Are contractions less painful in water? ›
Water immersion during the first stage of labor may reduce pain and shorten labor. Water immersion during labor has become more popular over the years, and I occasionally have mothers-to-be ask about this practice.What does unmedicated birth feel like? ›
Some people describe the feeling as being like intense period cramps, others say it feels like a tightening or pounding feeling in your uterus or across your belly, others describe the feeling as being like very intense muscle cramps, while still other people describe contractions as being like the sort of wrenching ...What hurts more than giving birth? ›
The aftermath of the root canal can affect your daily activities for a couple of days, make it difficult to eat, and require pain medication. Women who have needed root canal say it is worse than childbirth.What is the peanut ball before labor? ›
What is a peanut ball? Think of a yoga ball shaped like a peanut that you place between your legs. The ball is used during labor for new moms who need to stay in bed leading up to delivery in reaction to the epidural, complications, or fatigue.What is the most painful thing in labor? ›
Most women find the most painful part of labor and delivery to be the contractions, while some others may feel pushing or post-delivery is most painful. Pain during labor and delivery may also be caused by pressure on the bladder and bowels by the baby's head and the stretching of the birth canal and vagina.Is water birth easier than natural birth? ›
The immersion in warm water is secure for both the mother and fetus and positive for the mother's birthing experience, including reduced use of epidural anesthesia, improved pain management, shorter labor, and a greater sense of control during labor and delivery [5–7].Are you less likely to tear with a water birth? ›
Warm water is thought to increase the stretching of perineal muscles and reduce your risk of tearing. Results from some studies also suggest that waterbirth may be associated with a lower incidence of significant perineal tears; however the evidence is mixed.
Perineal protection at the time of birth
A kneeling, or all-fours position, or lying on your side, may be beneficial and reduce the severity of tearing.
You can wear what feels comfortable for you, keeping in mind that you will be in what is essentially a large bath. Many women choose to wear a bikini or tankini. Others choose to just wear a bra. You can wear a t-shirt or vest top if you want to be a little more covered.What does your BMI have to be to have a water birth? ›
Generally, if you are healthy and between 37 and 42 weeks pregnant and have had an uncomplicated pregnancy with no serious medical illnesses or complications and if your BMI was less than 35 when you met your midwife for your first appointment and where applicable, your previous pregnancy and labour were normal then a ...How much does a water birth cost in the US? ›
Water Birth Costs
If your water birth is done in a hospital, it usually costs same as a vaginal birth if it's covered by insurance. You may be required to rent the tub, which may be an extra $200 to $400. If you buy your own tub or pool for a home birth, it can range between $65 to $500 depending on how fancy you go.
Average Cost of Childbirth in the US
Giving birth costs $18,865 on average, including pregnancy, delivery and postpartum care, according to the Peterson-Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) Health System Tracker. Health insurance can cover most of that cost. But what if you don't have health insurance?
When you give birth vaginally and your baby is crowning (their head is visible in your vaginal opening), you may feel what's known as the "ring of fire." The ring refers to the circle your baby's head makes as it pushes on and stretches your vaginal opening, and the fire refers to the burning, stinging sensation you ...What pushing position reduces tearing? ›
Birthing in the side-lying position has been shown to reduce perineal tearing by allowing the presenting part to descend more slowly (Shorten, Donsante, & Shorten, 2002).Who is most likely to tear during birth? ›
- Having your first baby.
- Having a forceps or vacuum birth.
- Being from certain ethnic backgrounds (such as India and China)
- Having a long second stage (pushing part) of labour.
- Having an epidural.
- Having an episiotomy.
- Giving birth lying on your back, especially with legs in stirrups (lithotomy)