Friday, May 20, 2011

Having a Baby in Jordan

Well, I am half-way through my 3rd pregnancy!! Today is 20 weeks and counting! We found out last week, Inshallah, in October, we will be having a baby boy!! What has my thoughts pre-occupied these days is deliverying a baby so far from the US healthcare system I am so familiar with.

As a Registered Nurse in the US, I had always heard of and sometimes witnessed the fear of immigrants recieving healthcare in the US. In nursing school, we learned a great deal about how American minorities were sceptical of equal care and immigrants were scared of different ideations on cultural norms presented in the delivery of care. As a lady married to an immigrant, whose non-English speaking Mother-on-law would come stay with us for months at a time, and someone who simply believes in all people...I always did my best to provide the best care to the non-English speaking patients, the immigrants, and the minorities.

Now, the table has turned. I am the immigrant. I am the minority. I am the non-Arabic speaking patient. I am seeking care for the delivery of my 3rd baby, here, in Jordan, a forgein country, a place I currently call home.

Fear you ask? I always feel fear of the unknowns of delivery. Fear of the cultural norms that are un-normal for me...fear, may not be the right word...yet I am nervous.

Intreged you ask? Definately. I am interested on a learning level of what the cultural norms actually are.

Surprised you ask? On many levels, yes. Yet, honestly, I feel farily certain they are similar norms to the US when lets say, my Mother labored her 3 children....30 years ago.

What have you learned so far, you ask? Here is a short list of the differences of labor and delivery in Jordan (generally speaking)...

1-Husbands are not allowed in the room during active labor.

2-You begin in a pre-delivery room where many women are in the same room, you then shift to privately deliver your baby, then to return to a post-delivery area for recovery in a room shared by many women.

3-Delivery by C-Section is done under General Anesthesia, not Spinal Anesthesia.

4-Just as baby is born, Mom is given an injection to 'put her to sleep' until after the placenta is delivered.

5-You do not meet your baby for a few hours...Mom is recovering, baby is bathing and being examined.

6-Baby does not 'room in' with Mom...Baby stays in a nursery and Mom relaxes.

7-You must pay the entire hospital bill before you are discharged...the day of discharge, the hospital keeps baby until you show proof of payment, then you recieve your baby.

8-Cost of deliverying a baby is anywhere from $150-$4500...depending on hospital, normal birth vs c-section, epidural, private room, days spent in the hospital.


What makes me nervous, you ask....
+Being in a room full of other women
+Not having my husband with me
+Other cultural norms that come up that I am not aware of prior.

What will I request to be different from the norms, you ask...
+Not holding/meeting baby immediately after delivery.

+Being put to sleep after delivery (WHAT is that all about?!)
+General anesthesia for Section (WHAT?!...Spinal is safer!)

What am I okay with as long as I know about ahead of time, you ask....
+Paying prior to leaving (this is required of all clinic, lab, hospital visit in Jordan)
+Baby does not 'room-in' with Mom (as long as I have to option to keep baby with me most of the time)

What are the positives, you ask?
+All Physicians and most Registered Nurses speak English well.
+Jordan has the best healthcare in the Middle East
+I really, really like my OB/GYN!!

I will start touring hospitals next week! I will let you know what I find out!


  1. Whoa....I am curious what the deal is with knocking them out until the placenta is delivered....I could go on and always, you sound like you are being very brave and trying to keep an open mind right now.
    By the way...Noah wants you to name the new little guy after him :)
    GO Libra's!
    Love- Linds

  2. Assalamo alaikum,

    MashaAllah i just came across this blog recently, and I am really keen on hearing your experiences. I am in the UK but we spend several months in Zarqa per year. I have only heard of the birth stories from those who went to government hospitals, and personally I would NEVER consider it myself. InshaAllah you'll have a great experience and a pious, healthy baby, ameen! xxx

  3. Wow! That is quite a few differences... and significant ones. I would struggle knowing that my husband couldn't be in the room with me. It would help to really like your OBGYN. Will he/she be delivering the baby?

    You are so brave!


  4. Hey Bethany! Congratulations on your pregnancy! It is great that you love your OB/GYN! I think that if you spoke with them, they would definitely omit the pre-placenta knock-out. I had surgery at KAUH several years ago and the nurses kept commenting on how well I dealt with the post-surgical pain, surprised that I was up walking around, etc. I am sure that the typical response to the discomfort from the locals (probably due to lack of patient teaching) created this "extra" step.

    When I talk with my Jordanian sister-in-laws , they are surprised that my husband was with me for the deliveries of our three kids. I don't think you can get around this "usual" because of the other women present. But, please have a female girlfriend with you, if possible. Preferaby fluent in both languages.

    I will be thinking of you! Take care.


  5. lol congratulations first of all for almost having ur 3rd baby, I am Jordanian and yes i dont like the fact that i cant take my husband inside while delivery but I can relate I guess because unlike the US people here are NOT familiar with the idea still yet..

    anyway i think u can choose between the general anesthesia or Spinal (not sure though) but u need to check with the hospital it self,

    anyhow I wish u all the luck, dont worry u are in safe hands Inshallah :)

    Best wishes, Dania H