Resources for pregnant women in Qatar

Pregnant in Qatar

If I ever pictured my pregnancy, I imagined myself surrounded by friends and family who diligently escorted me to ultrasounds and kept watch over my belly for 9 months.

In reality, no one from my family saw me pregnant, except via Skype. And that’s ok. Because although having a baby abroad can be a lonely experience, it can also give you space and time to focus on yourself and your partner in your last few months alone together.

However, being isolated means you have to be resourceful, so here’s a little listicle of some of the people, places and activities I used during my pregnancy in Qatar. To be honest, it was a blissful experience.

Barefoot beach walks

One of them more unattractive pregnancy ailments, swollen ankles or ‘cankles‘ are very common. I avoided this by barefoot walking every day, even in winter. If you live at The Pearl, Viva Bahriya or Qanat Quartier I suggest heading to the beach to walk on the sand. Yes, I was called a ‘radical hippie’ but that’s a small price to pay for lower limb circulation.

Aspire Active Pre Natal Classes

Think Swiss balls and stretching. The memory of these classes makes me actually wish I was pregnant again. My favourite was pilates with Agnes. I also liked yoga with Nisha. Being told to breathe deeply and relax while listening to calming music was the most heavenly way to spend an hour. I did classes after work and they would rid any muscle pains or headaches I’d picked up during the day. It’s a great way to meet other women and I used some of the exercises I learnt right up until my baby was born (like, literally in the hospital).

You can check out the Aspire Active schedule.

Feto Maternal Centre (FMC)

We were lucky enough to see the wonderful Professor Badreldeen at the Feto Maternal Centre, near Landmark Mall. He is a kind, smiley man who seems to love what he does. He is particularly specialized in multiple births and VBAC. His nurses are fantastic and visit you at home after the birth. If you decide to use this clinic, I suggest you get to know the names of the nurses and admin staff. You’ll see them once a month and, if you choose to use the peadiatrician after your baby is born, possibly for years to come

Doha Clinic

We used Doha Clinic for our delivery. A friend described it as “looking like it had been through a civil war 4 times”! No, it’s not as flashy as Al Ahli (where they have a VVIP ward!), but the care in the birthing ward was fantastic. They were very supportive of individual birth plans – they even have a Swiss ball you can use. That’s very progressive by Doha standards! All delivery rooms had their own bathroom.

Of course, there were downsides. There was no hot water in the ward room bathrooms, they don’t provide food or beds for husbands and parking is a nightmare. But we had a good experience nonetheless!

Natural childbirth education

Options for extensive childbirth education are quite slim in Qatar. In an attempt to inform ourselves of what was to come, we attended the Natural Childbirth Education Class hosted by Yama Yoga. One thing that was great about this course was that it really focused the role of the father in childbirth. So if your man’s a bit … daunted, this could be for you. It does, as the name suggests, promote birth with as little intervention as possible, so keep that in mind if you attend. Classes are held at Asas Towers in West Bay.

Doula

A doula is a woman who offers assistance during and after birth. She is not a midwife (in fact, midwives are not legal in Qatar). She is part teacher, part cheerleader, part confidante, part masseuse, complete lifesaver and entirely essential if you don’t have any family in Doha. The woman we used doesn’t practice anymore, but you can contact Denise and if she’s busy I’m sure she can recommend someone available. A doula is especially useful if you give birth in a hospital that doesn’t allow men in the delivery room, such as Hamad Hospital.

Maternity clothes

Like many things, good quality maternity clothes are hard to find in Doha. (This is when you really start to envy the girls who wear abeyas).

My go-to shop was H&M. They’re not always fully stocked but they have a nice range of dresses (great for work), t-shirts and nursing singlets. I found that the store in Villaggio had the best stash. Don’t forget to always check out the sales racks!

Any pregnant woman will tell you that with all their zips and buttons, pants are the enemy to a baby bump. Leggings are the way forward. I bought mine from Mothercare in City Center and wore them every weekend. Mothercare also have other maternity clothes but I thought they were too expensive – H&M have much more reasonable prices.

Bump belt car accessory

I knew a woman whose car was hit on Al Waab Street by someone who drove through a red light. She was pregnant at the time. The paramedics who attended the accident said that her unborn baby was only alive because she was wearing a ‘bump belt’. This is a harness that fastens to your car seat. It aims to remove some of the pressure that your seatbelt would put on your stomach in the event of a car accident.

I was gifted mine but I believe you can buy them from Mothercare. If they’re out of stock, try to order one online, or get a friend or family member to post one to you.

YouTube Yoga

For the days when I couldn’t leave the house to exercise, or whenever I was feeling low in energy (umm … every day?), I did prenatal yoga via Youtube. I followed the practices of Lauren Falconer, Director at The Lifepod in Sydney, Australia. Her voice is totally zen and her practice is so short and basic, a beginner carrying 15 extra kilos can do it!

Here are a few routines:

Enjoy your pregnancy and make the most of what Qatra has to offer: the culture respects mothers, the perpetual sun can give you plenty of vitamin D and you have access to possibly the world’s largest array of ‘mocktails’!

Image via Frank De Kliene

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