This summer when we were home, we had lots of questions about our life in Kuwait, and Mitch addressed answering quite a few of them back here in this post. One question that came up quite a bit while we were home was, “what is the medical care like in Kuwait?” I thought I would take a few minutes to dig a bit deeper into that topic and discuss what my doctoring experience has been like through my pregnancy here in Kuwait.
Kuwait has a socialized medical program, meaning that all citizens and residents of Kuwait have health insurance coverage at the government run hospitals. These hospitals leave quite a bit to be desired in terms of facilities. The hospitals are a bit older, the waits are long, and the doctors seem completely swamped with patients. The government hospitals make American hospitals seem like a vacation at a Sandals Resort.
Our school however also provides us with private health insurance, meaning that we can go to the government hospitals, but we are also covered to go to private hospitals. Thus, we decided to attend the Royale Hayat to complete my pre-natal care and the delivery of our baby. The Royale Hayat is the complete opposite of any government hospital. The Royale Hayat is truly a luxury hospital like nothing I have ever seen!
When we walk into the front door of the hospital lobby, there is always a woman who welcomes us with calm music that she is playing on either a harp or a flute. There is always at least 6 bell boys by the entrance opening the car doors of patients, as the valet drivers whisk away the car to the parking ramp. There are always a few more standing in the reception area waiting to carry any bags for us, as another woman stands next to the elevator ready to push the elevator button for us. The Royale Hayat is more luxurious than any hotel I have ever walked into and truly seems nothing like a hospital. The facilities and customer service are simply spectacular!
Not only are the facilities great but our doctor is great as well. We chose a doctor based on some very glowing recommendations from friends who had given birth at the Royale Hayat. Our doctor is a Kuwaiti woman who was medically trained in the United States, and is both U.S. and Canadian Board Certified. She is thorough, efficient, and doesn’t sugar coat anything. She answers all of my questions and quiets my worried first time Mommy brain. She has earned my trust and I have full confidence that she is going to do everything in her power to help me have the delivery experience that I am hoping for.
We did do some doctoring when we were home this summer, and I noticed a few distinct differences in doctoring in Kuwait vs doctoring in Minnesota:
- In Kuwait we have an ultrasound at every appointment we walk into. We became very used to seeing our little guy on a regular basis! The doctor measures the baby’s head, checks in on his organs, monitors his heartbeat, and takes a good, long, hard look at our little one. When we went to doctor appointments in the U.S. the doctor measured my belly with a tape measure, and listened to his heart beat. Needless to say, it felt quite a bit less exciting to go to our American appointments without an ultrasound each time!
- In Kuwait, it is quite uncommon to see Dad’s going to doctor appointments with the Mom’s to be. Often times Mitch and I are sitting in the waiting room where he is the only father present, with a dozen pregnant women sitting around waiting for the doctor. I have to make a special request at each appointment for Mitch to be allowed to come back into the exam room with me. In the U.S. we saw numerous Dad’s at the appointments.
- In Kuwait our doctor is a conservative, covered, Muslim woman. She almost always speaks exclusively to me. She does not engage in conversation with Mitch unless it is completely necessary. If he has a question, I am kind of like the translator between him and the doctor. In our experiences, it is quite rare for a Muslim person to engage in conversation with someone of the opposite sex, unless they are a member of their family or it’s necessary for doing business. At our doctor’s appointments in the U.S. the doctor got Mitch very involved during the appointment. She would call him over to the exam table and have him feel the position that the baby was in, and even taught him a few things he can do to help relieve any back pain I would experience.
- In Kuwait, we pay nothing for our medical coverage or medications. In the U.S. we had to pay for everything, our international health insurance plan only covers emergency care when we are back in the United States, however; even if I was still living and working in the U.S. I would have had a co-pay at each visit, plus be paying 20% out of pocket to have a baby.
Woah…if you have made it this far in this lengthly post pat yourself on the back. If you still have questions about our doctoring experience, we also received these questions last summer:
Are you scared to have a baby in Kuwait?
Ummm, yes! But not for the reason you are thinking. I am completely confident in having our child in Kuwait. I trust our doctor and all of the other medical personnel, but having a baby when I have never done this before is scary, and I would be scared if I was giving birth in the United States, Bangledesh, Noway, Kenya, Japan or Kuwait.
Was your pregnancy planned?
This was quite a personal question that we received more times than I felt comfortable with, but I will answer it. Mitch and I have always known we wanted to be parents. We did however feel like we had to arrive in Kuwait and see what the medical care was like prior to making the decision that we were going to try and have a baby. Once we got to Kuwait, we realized that I would have significantly better maternity leave here in Kuwait, than I would in the U.S. When we realized that the medical care is fantastic, we knew it was the perfect time to start our family. So yes, it was a planned pregnancy.
You are so brave! Aren’t you scared your baby is going to die because you are having him in the Middle East?
Seriously, who asks this question of a pregnant lady??? I sure hope not! Also, I would like to point out that Jesus was born in the Middle East and he turned out to be a pretty decent guy! 😉
Only a couple of weeks left until we get to lay our hands on our little guy for the first time. We are beyond excited and happy that our medical experience during this pregnancy has been so wonderful!