From the anecdotal evidence that I have gleaned over the years, I have concluded that foreigners arrive in Egypt, see the sites whilst enjoying the country’s plethora of luxury resort hotels and then get knocked-up.
Pregnancy seems to be on many an itinerary. Maybe it is the time of life, or people are having the time of their lives.
Either way, the initial surprise or celebration gives way to that eternal question posed by Joe Strummer and The Clash; Should I stay or should I go?
Should the baby be born in Cairo or should mom head home to a familiar healthcare system, the warmth of the family bosom and doctors she can converse with?
Into the equation you must add the future nationality of the child and that of any grandchildren.
Check with your embassy because even though your baby may be entitled to your nationality, because you have been born there, their own children, your grandchildren, may not be entitled to the same.
This was the case with a British national and his Gambian wife who experienced visa problems recently and spoke only on the condition that their names were not printed in case it prejudices their case.
“I was outraged that my wife was rejected for a visa. She has traveled to the UK a number of times and our two other children were born in Britain.
“If the baby has to be born in Egypt, I am told his children will not be entitled to British nationality.
When mom does choose to give birth in Cairo, then it’s necessary to find a doctor and a hospital.
My own son Max, was booked into El Nader Hospital in Manial and the main issue was finding an obstetrician who was sympathetic to the needs of a foreigner.
Not the least of these was the father being present at the birth.
But my job was done long ago; mom was concerned about language, the baby being taken away to a nursery and being fed glucose, which makes breast feeding more difficult. The lack of midwives and little family support.
Anti-natal classes are available in Mohandiseen through Katriona Shawski, taking you through the stages of child birth, how to help your self with different positions, breathing techniques to reduce pain, and baby care following the birth.
A worry for all prospective parents is the development of the fetus and now the amniocentesis test is available in Maadi.
“It took five times to get the needle into the placenta accurately, said a recent patient, speaking on the condition that her name would not appear in print. “The fetus went into spasm and I had to be put on a drip, she added.
Blood tests are also necessary when pregnant and yet another friend of mine, whom I have met through diplomatic circles, said that she was given the wrong blood test results and had to rush back to London for confirmation.
This also happened with Max’s mom, who was given the wrong results and when she was re-tested on London’s Harley Street, a serious autoimmune disease was detected.
A colleague of mine who delivered a healthy baby boy in the Dar Al Fouad Hospital on Wednesday said, “It was quick, but it was different.
“The operating theater was filled with people and machines. My first baby was born in Peru and it was such a different experience. I would not recommend Dar Al Fouad.
Many Egyptians themselves seem to travel overseas to give birth, which may also secure a passport into the bargain.
According to the CIA Fact Book, Egypt’s birth rate is ranked 89th in the world, so by that measure hospitals have plenty of experience. The country with the highest birth rate is Niger and the lowest is Hong Kong.
Child birth, it is a problematic thing, and having been through it, in a sense myself, I could only advise that all advice should be taken on board and then do exactly what is best for mom and baby without compromise.
Mabrouk to all the new mom and dads.
Katriona Shawski; Tel: 012 219 8131.