It feels kind of surreal to be venturing back into the world of maternity, but I’m 15 weeks now and it’s getting more and more real as the bump pops! I thought it would be handy to post the essentials that have got me through two (and now three) pregnancies in this city (and a helpful reminder for me too!). So here goes…
1. Antenatal Classes
For me, attending antenatal classes were an essential part of preparing for our first baby. Not so much because we then knew what we were doing when the baby arrived (after all, no class can prepare you for the full reality), but the fact we felt more confident and more prepared for his arrival and also made friends in the classes. One of my favourite companies in Dubai runs regular classes, which are well worth booking in for. The Babies & Beyond Prenatal Workshops run over several weeks (next course starting April 2nd), taken by a British midwife called Julie Mallon. Topics covered include Preparing for Birth, Labour and Birth, Meeting your Baby, and Caring for your new family (1900 AED per couple – and you may be able to get some of your money back by insurance provider). To book, visit www.babiesandbeyond.ae or call 04 278 9832
2. Online Maternity Shopping
Stylish online maternity store Blush and Bloom has launched since my last pregnancy – and what a joy, as it saves me trawling the malls for (let’s face it) pretty average selections of maternity clothes. There are some seriously stylish styles and brands online, with the likes of Seraphine, Stella McCartney, and Madderson London making up the virtual rails. Special mention goes to the lingerie section, which is without doubt the best maternity selection in Dubai. And if you want to try things on (or get measured, in the case of lingerie), you can head to the dressing room in Arabian Ranches. Get in touch for more information. To buy or try, visit www.blushandbloom.com or call 05 845 4622
3. Hospital Tours
I’ve given birth in two Dubai hospitals – American Hospital with Stanley and City Hospital with Wilfred (and seriously considering a third for this next baby due to the convenience factor). Each time, I booked onto a tour of the hospital for when I was around 30 weeks, where we were shown the delivery suites and maternity wards. You see midwives and doctors buzzing around as you walk through the wards (and I was so surprised by just how calm it all was), which is a big boost in confidence when you are starting to feel nervous about the whole ‘giving birth’ thing. I highly recommend it. Contact each individual hospital for timings of their weekly tour.
4. Second-hand Shopping
Preparing for a baby in Dubai can be an expensive business, which is why I love the twice-monthly market Baby Bazaar, where mummies that have moved on from the baby days sell their near-perfect collections of baby essentials to mums that need to stock up! You’ll find everything from clothing, to sleeping essentials, to toys, to strollers, and high chairs. Once you’ve been to a market, you’ll never want to buy new again! The markets are held every two weeks, alternating between Times Square Centre and Sunset Mall on Beach Road – and the next one is at Times Square on Saturday (from 9pm). Visit the Baby Bazaar Facebook Page
5. Pregnancy Pampering
Jacuzzis and full-body massages flat on your back may be out for 9 months, but that doesn’t mean you can’t spoil yourself. I loved heading for regular manicures and pedicures during my pregnancies (The Nail Spa is a top favourite for the comfort factor) and adding on a head, neck and shoulder massage for those aches and pains. I also enjoyed trips to the cinema to prop my back up (I always took a pillow in my bag, but these days you can hire them) and the occasional posh spa visit for a prenatal massage (Talise Spa at Al Qasr is my ultimate favourite with its outdoor pool for relaxing around afterwards.
6. Prenatal Yoga Classes
OK, so I confess that I never got around to it during my last pregnancy with a toddler to look after too – but I loved attending regular prenatal yoga classes with my first and credit it for keeping me fit and healthy throughout. I attended Exhale Dubai (in JBR Murjan) where they hold both Prenatal Yoga and Pilates classes on a weekly basis. As I live so close now we’ve moved, I’m going to try and find the time to book in every week as I think it makes a big difference. Visit www.exhaledubai.com