Monday, July 18, 2011

Prenatal and Postnatal care in Muscat

Disclaimer: The opinions stated below are those of an excessively worried, picky and downright demanding pregnant woman and may not reflect the experiences or thoughts of other (calmer) patients of the said health-care providers. 

I have certain expectations when it comes to healthcare. I mean, apart from the hospital being credible, sterile and equipped for emergencies I also want it to provide a personal healthcare service and to genuinely “care”. Would it be too much to ask for of the doctor to remember my name (without looking at the file) and the reason for my visit (again without looking at the file)?

We are expecting our first child and obviously have a lot of questions and concerns. As any parents do, we want everything to go smoothly. We expect our doctor to take her sweet time doing our first (and any consecutive) ultrasounds, to listen to my concerns and to at least look at the reports concluded by other doctors. That’s why I am not so happy with Muscat Private Hospital.

We had our first scheduled appointment when I was 6 weeks (and 4 days) pregnant. My doctor asked if my home test was positive and a few other standard questions. We then proceeded to a small dark ultrasound room and heard our baby’s heart beat for the very first time. It was out of this world. Routinely, I was then prescribed folic acid and novidoxine (to ease the morning sickness) and we were sent on our way. Being in a slightly shocked and ecstatic state that morning all the questions I had completely flew out of my head. I wanted to ask her if I am allowed to have a back massage, if there are any foods I should I avoid eating and if I should perhaps give my cat away (toxoplasmosis). Looking back at the first appointment, I would say the vibe we got from the doctor pretty much summed up to “It’s only 6 weeks, come back when you are a little more pregnant”. Or to put it more bluntly “It’s still very early…anything can happen”.

I had slightly different expectations of what my first prenatal appointment would go like. I know for certain that the doctors back home would shower a pregnant woman with advice (Don’t lift anything heavy, drink plenty of milk, don’t change the cat litter). However, in Muscat Private Hospital the appointment felt more commercial than personal. Needless to say I threw myself into speaking to other expecting women and mothers to get a little insight into what kind of a treat I was in for. (And we gave away the cat…)

Fast forward exactly a month. It was extremely difficult for Alex to find the time and come to the next appointment with me because he was booked on a flight to Salalah exactly an hour after our appointment was due to start. However he was very excited to see the baby again and he knew that the Nuchal translucency (NT) scan we were about to do was extremely important so he did the best to reschedule his work trip (but his phone still rang every 15 minutes). First of all we had to wait for an hour for our doctor to find the time to see us. Second of all when we finally had her full attention she checked how far along I am (10 weeks and 4 days) and declared that it’s too early for the NT scan as it will not show until the baby is at least 12-13 weeks. I swear I could hear and see the smoke coming out of my husband ears. Why in the world would they set an appointment to specifically do the scan if it was too early? (It’s a rhetorical question, I know exactly why!).

She immediately saw that we were uncomfortable with her decision and Alex proceeded to calmly (ahem…) explain that an entire oil-drilling site in Salalah was stopped for a day because he could not get on the place because she said we would be doing the damn scan. In her defense the doctor said that she did not say we would be doing the scan but that we would during this appointment schedule another appointment to do the scan. (So let’s get this clear, I am paying 20 OMR for an appointment to just set another appointment???).

Seeing that Alex was literally turning red at this point she sent us down to the ultrasound ward where a pleasant woman reassured me that she would do her best to perform the scan (even though we were two weeks early, yada, yada). Ha! Little did they know that we are currently growing a very progressive and super-developed baby who in week 10 could show them exactly what it was “by the books” too early for them to see. So it is moments like these where I love that Alex is strong-willed, a little (ahem…) pushy and very convincing. Not only did the scan show that the baby is developing very well but we were also able to see it kick around and throw its arms over its head and bounce around in its little protective bubble. Mesmerizing.

What left me worried however is that my doctor did not even ask to see the report of the ultrasound and when we are back there in a few weeks time I doubt she will even remember that she sent us down for a scan.

I am seriously having second thoughts about Muscat Private Hospital now even though I know they are probably the best place to deliver a baby in Muscat, it’s the prenatal care that is leaving me feeling a little abandoned and “used”.

So please share any good/bad experiences you had at Muscat Private, regardless if it was for delivery related or not. What other hospitals provide excellent prenatal and postnatal services? If anyone has actually been with Muscat Private for their entire pregnancy and delivery please let me know! If you don’t want to share your private health stories publicly please email me at I would greatly appreciate any piece of advice at this point!


  1. ummm i would suggest u have a look at the Rifaa Hospital in Al Ghoubra, one of my dearest friends wife gave birth wouldnt heart to go an check it out..i dont go to MPH because they made me gain 20kg in one month because the dam doctor gave me staroids without telling me!

  2. Your experiences...
    I have no comment, but Iam still wondering how did you see smoke coming out of your husband ears :-), I understand you were explaining as joke to deliver the message with empasis.
    I just wish you a good luck and successful pregnancy!

  3. I've heard a few weird stories from friends who have had kids in Oman, two of which were from MPH - one great, one awful so not too helpful I'm afraid. Sending you an email though :)

  4. my company pays for medical expenses at MPH and havin heard the rates, I figured it must be a good place to justify the charges. so, there i went with an awful flu, fever, the works.there were 3 people in the waitin took me more than an hour to see the GP!nothing explains the delay.nd i was very unsatisfied with his experience in all ways. went back to badr al sama, got myself a good opinion,medicines etc.never will step into MPH again.

  5. Hi,

    We've been here for 5 years and I wouldn't trust MPH to put on a band aid. The few times we have been it has just been a money making exercise for them, as many tests and medicines as they can get away with. I've also heard some shocking stories from parents concerning 1 particular paediatrician there.

    If there is anything wrong with us we go to Medident, they don't routinely prescribe antibiotics for every sniffle and Kathy has a brilliant touch with a needle (I honestly didn't feel anything when she had to take blood from me). They also have a midwife and OB/GYN.

    I hope this helps.

  6. Omanis seems to love Khoula hospital for babies, most expats recommended Raffaa for deiveries. For ultrasounds, Badr Al Sama in Barka has Dr. Basma from Iraq. I love her. She's good at her job, patient, answers most questions to do with development and ultrasounds (and way cheaper MPH and no apointment needed for scans, just go at 5pm-7pm). I don't know about the rest of the Dr.s there. But I personally recommend Dr. Basma.

  7. Hey Olga,

    Congratulations on the bubba!!! I haven't checked in on blogger forever (since we left Muscat in Feb!) and am pleased to have re-entered the bloggosphere and read the good news.

    Sorry your experiences to date haven't been great, but congrats again and all the best.

    x Delirious in the Desert x

  8. @Anonymous- thanks for the advice, I have actually heard good things about Al Raffah hospital and might check them out next week and let you all know how it goes :)
    @Chib- I hope that's where our bad experiences end because I am really trying to stay calm!
    @TheOmaniBrit- thank you very much for your email!
    @Anonymous- I was once brought to Muscat Private after a car accident coz I though I had a concussion (nothing serious) and I literally spend 2hrs in the "emergency" waiting room!
    @Expatmummy-thanks for the advice, I want to check out Medident in the near future, but the only issue with them is that they dont have a delivery ward so I will end up delivering in Muscat Private.
    @OmaniPrincess-SQU or Khoula would be my preferred choices, but unfortunately for an expat they are impossible to get into!!!
    @Delirious-oh welcome bacccck!!!!!!

  9. Pebbles was born at Muscat Private under the care of DR.Rula (OBGYN) and Dr.Hans (Neonatal Pediatrician)

    Despite the staggering disorganization of the administrative and testing departments, I felt that I received an exceptionally high standard of care from Dr.Rula. I was a pretty high maintenance first time mother, and terrified about having my first baby surrounded by muppets or morons. Dr.Rula was outstanding, reassuring, and totally competent.

    Dr.Hans is so good I would gladly marry him and have his children. The mid wives were all South African, and extraordinarily competent and caring.

    Pebbles was a 4 kilo baby, and was born via a scheduled C-Section so I could be certain to have both Dr.Rula and Dr.Hans on hand. As much as I trusted them, I didn't have the same level of trust in the rest of the staffing and procedures that I felt I could leave the birth of my first and only child to whomever happened to be on duty whenever I went into Labor.

    The procedure went very smoothly, though I wasn't impressed with the Anesthesiologist at all, everyone else was exceedingly competent and professional.

    We stayed in a nice private room, with space for my husband to sleep in the room, and the baby in room with us the entire time. She was never out of our site from the moment she was born until we were discharged. The midwives were really helpful in giving me a crash course on baby care and maintenance. How to bathe the baby, swaddle the baby, change a diaper, how to care for the umbilical cord, and most importantly how to breast feed, and get the baby latched on correctly.

    So, overall, a pretty positive experience for me. All the best with whatever you decide to do, and Congratulations!

  10. Ask MPH if they have the capability to deal with whatever emergencies might arise during the birth.