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Having a baby in Nairobi

My husband and I are relocating to Nairobi from the UK in April/May when I will be five months pregnant. I would be really interested in anyone's views on a few points that we are thinking about:

- advice on healthcare facilities in Nairobi, private hospitals/clinics (any names or links would be very useful as I've been struggling to find these)

- do expats take anti-malarials in Nairobi? I've read that there is no malaria in Nairobi, but given the dangers of contracting malaria during pregnancy, do people take them just in case?

- any personal experiences of having a baby in Kenya would be really useful!

- What do you think would be the downsides of not staying in the UK to have my baby? There are lots of positives to moving overseas and we are excited about starting up in a new place, however I would like to take a balanced approach and weigh up the various options.

Thanks so much in advance for your advice :)

- advice on healthcare facilities in Nairobi, private hospitals/clinics
There are some very fine hospitals... Aga Khan, http://www.agakhanhospitals.org/nairobi/index.asp  and get insured with AAR who are very good.
- do expats take anti-malarials in Nairobi? I've read that there is no malaria in Nairobi,

I don't. If you're here long term there's a risk that they will just mask the symptoms of the malaria and you don't get treated quickly. But get advice from someone QUALIFIED

but given the dangers of contracting malaria during pregnancy, do people take them just in case?


You need proper advice from a quailified person (maybe the School of Tropical Diseases in Liverpool) Some malaria treatments have nasty side effects... that comebined with pregnancy... well I'm in absolutely no position to comment.

There is a form of nasty malaria in Nairobi but it is quite rare


- any personal experiences of having a baby in Kenya would be really useful!

Not yet! :-)

- What do you think would be the downsides of not staying in the UK to have my baby?

The price. The quality of UK Midwives.
The closeness of KFC and Burger King.

- advice on healthcare facilities in Nairobi, private hospitals/clinics (any names or links would be very useful as I've been struggling to find these)

Top private hospitals (i.e. Aga Khan and Nairobi hospital) offer high quality medical services. Even better is a gynaecologist who runs his/her own private clinic, but is liaised with these hospitals (i.e. he/she can practice within these hospitals).

- do expats take anti-malarials in Nairobi? I've read that there is no malaria in Nairobi, but given the dangers of contracting malaria during pregnancy, do people take them just in case?

Personally I did not take them - and I was in Kenya during the full 9 months of the pregnancy. Consider discussing with your doctor.

- any personal experiences of having a baby in Kenya would be really useful!

Yep... I did it. And I am still doing it ;-) Little Yannick was born in Nairobi hospital 16 months ago. One friend of mine commented: babies are born everywhere, so why not in Kenya? Just be a bit flexible and practical - many things are different from UK/Europe, but that doesnot mean you cannot care very well for the little one. And what you desperately miss can be brought by the many friends/family that come to visit you in your new safari country ;-)
I can give you lots of advice on clothing, food, hygiene, doctors, etc etc. Just tell me what you want to know.

Hello!
I'm going to deliver a baby in Nairobi.
And I have some quesions to someone who already did it
Mama-Yannick, maybe you can answer

1. in what clinic did you deliver a baby?

2. can you recommend any doctors?

3. can you give some description of how it was? We delivered our previous baby at home with a midwife and we would like to have smth look like it - as natural as possible, staying with a baby after birth, breastfeeding, etc.

thank you,
Elena

Hi Elena,

My delivery was in Nairobi Hospital. If you want to have an experience that is as natural as possible, opt for either this hospital or Aga Khan. Though be prepared for it still to be very medicalised. But at least these hospitals allow the baby to stay with the Mum at all times even during the night (others don't... imagine!) so you can breastfeed on demand.
I can definitely recommend my gynaecologist (male). His name is Dr. Godfrey Nya'yu and he runs the Womens Clinic, a private clinic on the 4th floor of the south wing of Landmark Plaza (part of Meridian medical centre I believe), which is situated along Argwings Khodek Road, directly opposite Nairobi Hospital. Dr. Nya'yu is licensed to do deliveries in both Nairobi Hospital and Aga Khan, so you can bring your own doctor ;-) Another thing to consider is getting a doula to coach & assist you during delivery, this comes close to a midwife / natural birth experience. By the way, both hospitals offer maternity packages at a fixed price, which include delivery under the guidance of one of their midwives.

And my own delivery was none of this... One of nature's surprises, you can be prepared for anything, but the delivery still turns out to be something you would never have imagined. The baby was lying totally diagonal across, impossible for a natural delivery. And even an epidural was out of the questions, contractions were so heavy that it was impossible for me to lay still. So I had the very medical experience, under full anaestethic ;-) But that had nothing to do with Nairobi!

Cheers, Mama-Yannick

Hi,

I just recently gave birth at the Aga Khan and it was a very positive experience. You need to check with whoever provides your medical cover about maternity cover. I also moved here pregnant and our cover didn't include maternity because it was classed as a pre existing condition! So it proved a little expensive but worth it.
Our OB/GYN was also Dr Rukaria (previous post) and she was wonderful. She followed our wishes with regards to the birth... And it wad really nice to have throughout the pregnancy and birth as opposed to in the uk having diff midwives etc.
I had a long labour which ended in a emcs... Which my OB  carried out. All the care was extremely good. My only advice would be to make sure you are firm with the midwives about what you want.... They wanted to give my baby formula while I wad trying to establish breastfeeding, they also kept wanting to take her o the nursery to bath her! But they were also very good and always on hand to help.

Re malaria..... I only took tablets when i went to the coast. As far as I'm aware there's no malaria in nairobi and there are also areas around Nairobi which have low risks. I am yet to meet an expat who takes them- it would be hard taking them constantly. My doctor just said as soon as you feel unwell head to the docs and they test u asap. Also- most people use nets and I always spray if I'm outside after dusk.

The only downside of having a baby here that I found compared to the uk is that after u leave hospital there are no health visitors or midwives to visit you at home- you're left much more on your own... But I guess if you have any concerns you go to the hospital. However here they are more keen to keep you in longer.
The other thing is you are a long way from family and friends to help- but on the plus side it's affordable to have house help which nearly all do.

Hope this helps.

Mama-Yannick, Ronzi, Nosocks!
thank you very much! your posts are really helpful!

Thanks so much for the detailed replies and advice - I really appreciate it.
Our circumstances have changed and we're now not moving out until after the baby is born, however it's great to hear your experiences and I'm looking forward to starting our new life in Nairobi with a newborn in October!
:)

Mama-Yannick, Ronzi, Nosocks,
I have some more questions

1. how often did you visit your doctors?
2. do they make a lot of different analysis during pregnancy?
3. do they insist on ultrasound investigation (do you call it so?)? on cardiotocography?
4. do they use any stimulation to start delivery?

would be very grateful if you answer my questions!

Elena

I saw my OB every 4 weeks at the beginning then 2 weeks after I was 30 weeks.
I had quite a few blood tests done to test iron levels and sugar levels...Etc
And I had 3 ultrasounds.... 12, 20 & 36 weeks.
They can induce labour and I think some OB's are more prone to doing it but I was left 10 days and went into labour naturally..
Whatever you want..or dont want.. You just have to be clear about it and stand your ground. You need to discuss and write a detailed birth plan and you can always ask for a second opinion.
I am really pleased we said no to things we didn't want to happen- i can imagine some women would feel they had to go along with everythi g the docs and midwives told them

Hi Elena,

My doctor followed the standard ANC routines:
- 1st visit at 10-12 weeks, ultrasound scan to determine gestational age, blood/urine screening
- then regular checks with 4 week intervals
- another ultrasound at around 20 weeks, to check for any anomalies (and you'll get to know the baby's sex if you want to)
- in the last trimester, regular checks every 2 weeks, and the last month every week
Regular checks involved manual examination of the belly and once the baby was big enough listening to its heart tone.

Any deviations he would send me straight to the lab for an extra ultrasound (when he could not find the heart tone, though I felt the baby kick inside me, still he wanted the scan to be on the safe side - as it later turned out, the baby's diagonal position was preventing the doctor from finding the heart tone).

My baby announced itself before EDD, so I cannot comment on labour induction from a personal experience.

Cheers, Mama-Yannick

I forgot one thing: tetanus vaccination (given in 2 stages) is standard practise for expectant mothers in their 2nd trimester.

Mama-Yannick, thank you very much!


I suppose, it is possible to refuse of vaccination and ultrasound scan?

Nosocks,
thank you for your reply!

thank you, that sounds quite good.

one more question: is it possible to buy slings for babies and breastfeeding clothes in Nairobi?

I'm moving to Nairobi this fall and will be six months pregnant - has anyone had a home birth with midwife  and can they recommend someone, describe the experience ? This is my second child and hoping to have as natural as possible an experience and avoid hospitals if possible. Thanks!

Hi annt,
I think i know someone who can help you with expert answers she is an ER nurse and a qualified midwife who is now specializing in doula services for new mums. part of the package she gives include a visit before birth to your home to help you with the settling in and answer all your pre birth questions about the plan you have decided on the pros and cons and beest of all she gives  visits after the birth and helps you settle in and is always a phone call away.. her email address if you would like is lucy[at]muchiri.com. she also works with the emergency life support group.. she did wonders for me although a home birth was not in the plan best of luck.
Charray.

Hi ladies,

Congratulations on your upcoming motherhood. Its important to prepare for the delivery obviously and so, Aga Khan and Nairobi hospital are great choices. I think MP Shah and Marter hospitals are other great alternatives that you should consider.

As for belly slings, You could try sarit center. If I am not wrong, they have a shop for pregnant mothers. I may have seen some on display years ago when I was looking for one myself.

Good luck!

thank you!
i'll check that one in sarita

Hello,

I have a few questions on birth in Nairobi for those of you have gone through it.

Was your husband allowed in the delivery room with you?
Also are there pain medications available, epidurals etc.?

Thanks

Hi,

I am 5 months and a half pregnant, and I am already looking for good hospitals for giving birth, so I can be prepared, I am actually comparing Nairobi Women's hospitals and Aga Khan, and was wondering which one has good medical services.

Thank you for helping me.

Can someone with kinowledge and experience summarize here what are the best alternatives for pregnant expat in Nairobi-Kenya in terms of good antenatal clinics and good physicians, good home-visiting nurse midwives, midwives, hospitals,and other staff needed after delivery? Please be generous. Thanks you.

Hi,

Just a few pointers, for check ups there is a place called medanta clinic in nairobi and also look up aga khan hospitals. there is a reputable doctor sequeria who delivers babies.

(moderated: no free ads please)

For Psychological support with other Expat Mums, I suggest you join the Kilimani Mums Group on Facebook. They are great company and advise is immense.

I need  your  treatment  please  how can you help me

Hello alemnesh -> Could you please be more explicit?

Thank you,
Aurélie

Don't give birth in Kenya if you have other options. Rate of malpractice and negligence is too high. They will do everything to extract an extra  dollar from you. Even "massaging" the bill so you pay for things that never happened or things you never used or just double. You are at higher risk of being a victim of malpractice if you have good insurance or "look" wealthy.

Had our baby at Aga Kahn. Very exceptional. Equal to a normal hospital in the States. Care was top-notch.
We stay in Princess Zahra pavilion, ate delicious food and our insurance covered every penny.

Yeah, the birth rate is terrible, but not if you go to the right place. I highly recommend Aga Kahn. They deal with expats daily and have quality doctors. I know several missionaries that have had their babies there and all speak very highly of it.

This is for a US Citizen having their baby in Nairobi.

(if the links don't work, google US Embassy Nairobi, click on Report Birth Abroad.)

We had our latest child in March 2014 at Aga Kahn. The process was great.
We saw Dr. Maria Carvalho, loved her. Many of our friends had her and loved her.  She was great with our other kids. Aga Kahn helped us every step of the way. Our insurance covered it all. Even if it didn't, the grand total was around $2000.
As for vaccinations, our pediatrician let us decline all. They very flexible and easy to work with.
FIRST THING YOU DO! (a couple months before the due date, after you've had normal Doc visits.)
Book your appointment with the US Embassy on their website. They ask for the birth date, but we just inserted the due date, because it's just to hold your appointment. You have to keep checking their website every morning. Because a spot will open and be booked in an hour. I'd book it about 3 weeks after your due date, for a couple reasons. 1. In case you deliver late. 2. It takes a couple weeks to get the birth certificate, which is required.
Go here, to book the appointment.  [link under review]

(Originally, we were scheduled a month after the birth. But we called and said we were from TZ and didn't want to stay in Kenya that long. They moved our appointment to the next available one!)

BIRTH CERTIFICATE: There are two ways to get your birth certificate. One is the normal way, (I don't know about that because we didn't do it.) Two, is the expedited way, which is supposed to cost more, but we're talking a couple bucks and you get your birth certificate in less than two weeks.

Expedited way: You need to tell the nurse that you want to get it yourself. I took the pink form they gave me and went to City Hall. Made some copies across the street,  and went back up to the office. They gave me another form. (I might have had to pay a couple hundred shillings there) I took that to the Bishop Garden House. (it's really hard to find, but it's directly across the street from the Social Security building. Just get there and ask. Everyone around there knows where it is.
That's where you actually get the certificate. Just go to the info desk and they'll instruct you. Come back a couple days later and pay. (annoying I know). Then come back a couple days after that and collect the certificate. The certificate was supposed to be 150/= but they only had me pay 50/=. I don't know why. I paid more in bus fees!

PASSPORT/U.S. DOCUMENTS: Next, go to the Nairobi US Embassy webpage and do all they require to get a passport and report the birth. Fill out their forms and get your babies passport photo taken. (It appears overwhelming, but just make a check list and complete your forms. It's actually very easy.) [link under review]
Go to your scheduled appointment, once you have the birth certificate.
We had our meeting and followed their procedure. (we did not have our original marriage cert with, only a photo copy, and they didn't even care. But try to have the originals just in case. It is a foreign country after all.)
Then in 2.5 weeks we got an email that it was ready. I went back and got it with no problems.

VISA: Now, we are told we need a Kenyan visa stamped in it to go back to TZ, but we aren't sure yet. I'm still looking in to it. If anyone knows, please comment. Otherwise, when I'm finished, I'll post our final answer on the visa.

Hope this helps encourage someone!

If you want to have your baby in Kenya, don't worry! It's affordable and at Aga Kahn, it's quality!

Anyone looking to donate newborn stuff for a needy Mother to be who is a close friend and is going through some rough times can get in touch with me at nyambura_gathigaatyahoo.com Thx. NSmith

Another hospital I can suggest to you is Kijabe hospital. Google and get their no. Then call them. It is a mission hospital. I 've seen Europeans giving birth there & they normally have European doctors as their majot doctors. Many Europeans live there arround the hospital.
It is half an hrs drive frim Nairobi.
Feel free to call them & confirm everything for yourself.

Hi,welcome to Nairobi. I have. Worked as a nanny and driver for 13yrs with diplomatic families and have observed some few things. Each time they were to have a baby,they would travel back to their countries and came back after a month or so. All the families I have worked for went to Dr. Nesbitt at Gertrude children hospital or Nairobi hospital. About getting baby stuffs you can at the hyper shopping malls around Nairobi but some families preferred to shop back in Europe whenever they went for holidays. Never came across anyone who gave birth in Nairobi but that doesn't mean we don't have the facilities . Incase you would ever like a nanny,talk to me on smuigai09[at]Yahoo.com. I have done first aid and early education too. At the moment in out of country till end of October. Thanks,all the best and congratulations .

I am about to give birth my 3rd time in Kenya. Be really careful, because they make money doing c-sections and will lie to you to force you into one. There is a hospital called Royal Gardens Hospital and I believe they do water births even...might be worth checking out. my first I gave birth at Aga Khan in Mombasa and it wasn't a great experience, my 2nd I went up country to a private hospital and gave birth with midwives so I could have less doctor greed interference. The big hospitals do offer pain relief (epidurals and gas), and yes, your husband is allowed to be with you. This next one, I will also be doing the upcountry thing because my pregnancies are low risk and I had a good experience with the midwives. :)

Hi
I'm due next year
Just deciding about doc
If anyone has experience with dr.baal or dr reachel rukaria

Hi everyone  :) I am  38 weeks pregnant, and I am planning to give birth in KNH, anyone had experience giving birth there?
My husband is working,  his office is 2h away from home, I am not sure if he will be able to make it home on time when my labor starts.  Any suggestions about it?  Or what about Kenyan ambulance ? I am totally new here, so any advices would be appreciated  :heart:

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