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Giving Birth in Morocco? Here’s What You Should Know

giving birth in morocco, childbirth in morocco, baby with blue hospital wrist

Having a baby is a life-changing experience no matter where you live, but expecting a baby in a foreign country can be daunting. If you’re new in Morocco and planning to have a baby in Morocco, there are a few things you should know to avoid unpleasant surprises and stressful situations.

I’m hoping with the right information and guidance, you can expect a less stressful experience in welcoming your new baby in Morocco, insha’Allah.

Before You Read On…

Affiliate Disclosure: This post contain affiliate links, meaning I may earn a commission for qualified purchases made through them, at no additional costs to you. Hope you find the information beneficial! You can read my full Disclaimer and Disclosure here.

Disclaimer: Please keep in mind that none of the material, opinions or commentary found on this website constitute medical, legal or professional advice.

I merely shared what I gathered from online research, words of family and friends, and personal experience.

Morocco is huge, and you may find a totally different experience delivering a baby in one locality to another. However, I’ll keep updating this blog whenever I obtain new experience and information, insha’Allah.

What’s Healthcare Like in Morocco in General?

In terms of organisation, basic healthcare hygiene, patient care, and professionalism, you will most likely find Moroccan healthcare lacking, in comparison to healthcare in the UK, US, and European countries.

I like to retell to my non-Moroccan friends of my mother’s description of a public hospital she went to in Rabat 25 years ago. They’d gasp in horror each time they hear it.

“There was blood on the ceiling.”

“No water in the bathroom.”

“No food was provided.”

Of course, the cleanliness has improved since 25 years ago. But you’ll still find some hospitals that don’t seem to grasp the basics of hygiene or patient care.

Ultimately, it is different from one hospital to another, and I’ve heard that some international hospitals uphold Western standards in terms of professionalism and care.

Many doctors in Morocco go abroad to study in countries like Canada and the UK, and you’ll find them competent and skilled in their respective fields, especially in bigger cities like Marrakech. The nurses, however… well, don’t expect much of them.

They’re good nurses, of course. The ones my family met in M’diq were quite nice. 

However, from the majority of our experience and many people we know, Moroccan nurses in public hospitals are rude and don’t care much about their patients. The Moroccan nurses in private hospitals are nicer from our experience, but when it comes to their medical knowledge – they’re not very competent.

It’s not standard for hospitals to provide food and other essentials like bedding, pillows, and blanket, especially in public hospitals. So you’d have to bring your own from home. Not including these things in your birth plan will likely make your experience uncomfortable.

Where To Deliver Your Baby?

In Morocco, you can choose to deliver your baby in three places:

  • A public hospital
  • A private hospital
  • A midwife-owned clinic

All of these places have their pros and cons, and there are several factors to consider when choosing where to deliver. Here are some:

  • Cost. If you’re on a tight budget, Moroccan public hospitals can be free and is cheaper, followed by midwife-owned clinics, and then private hospitals are the more expensive option of the two.
  • Natural birth: At public hospitals and midwife-owned clinics, it’s usually the midwives and nurses who help the woman to give birth, which means fewer medical interventions.
  • C-section: If you have any complications during your pregnancy or have to undergo a C-section for medical reasons, private hospitals will be more equipped to handle it.

Can you deliver your baby at home in Morocco?

There are many reasons as to why one may want to deliver at home. Public hospitals in Morocco don’t have a good reputation, and not all Moroccans can afford giving birth in a clinic or private hospital.

Many Moroccans, especially in rural areas, give birth at home. While it’s not illegal, it is discouraged by the government, and you’ll find little to no support if you decide you want to deliver your baby at home.

However, there are ways you can make it possible. One, find a friendly obstetrician doctor who agrees to sign off the birth notice of your child. Two, register at a local hospital (so they have you on record) and when you have the baby, come in with the baby’s placenta.

My brother told me that another option you can do is going to the Muqaata’a with your midwife and two male witnesses to register for the baby’s birth.

10 years ago in Kenitra, I remember that having a baby at home was highly discouraged, and if you did, the process of obtaining the birth certificate of the baby would be a difficult process. Not all parts of Morocco are like this, and you may find some areas lenient to home births. When in doubt, ask the locals.

Now, don’t take my words for it. If you do decide to have the baby at home, make sure to do your own research and prepare accordingly, insha’Allah. You also want to get help from a local midwife and/or doula.

What You Should Know About Delivering in a Moroccan Public Hospital

Expats tend to avoid public hospitals, and even as Moroccans, many of us avoid them if we can. In bigger cities, they’re usually crowded. There was a woman who went to deliver at a public hospital and she found no bed available for her. She did eventually birthed on a bed. However, because the hospital was so busy, they didn’t help her clean up and she laid there with blood and amniotic fluid all over her and the baby.

Additionally, in public hospitals you usually don’t have privacy when in labour, and your birth partner is not allowed to be there with you in the delivery room, leaving you to birth the baby alone. This may be a big no-no, especially if you are used to the culture of having support with you and don’t speak Darija or French.

For things like basic essentials such as bed sheets, pillows, towels, and blankets you’d have to bring them from home. And as for food, they don’t usually provide it for you – and you have to get a family or friend to bring it for you. There are some hospitals that provide food, but through all the hospitals we’ve been to, none of them provided it.

Another thing with public hospitals is that they’re usually not equipped with surgical equipment, and instead of a doctor, usually, nurses and midwives who oversee the birth of the woman. The absence of a doctor is usually a good thing because you don’t have to worry about them rushing with your labour and conveniently talking you into a C-section.

The unspoken bribing system in Moroccan hospitals

One thing that you should know about Moroccan public hospitals is the corrupt bribing system.

If you can’t wait for the long queue, there’s a way to cut through everyone else. And you guessed it, bribe the person in charge (not advising you to do that).

Now, by all means, this is not professional and it’s not ethical. And to see this in a Muslim country, it’s sad. But the reality is, it’s happening. And we should accept the reality of the situation, and approach the matter wisely.

Moroccan public hospitals are usually crowded and busy. On top of that, many staff feel they’re overworked and not paid enough and you can see that in their attitude as clear as day. In a lot of cases, patients’ needs are overlooked, rushed, and sometimes even forgotten.

To make sure you’re not overlooked and are treated like a decent human being as you should, you pay someone. You’re not officially required to pay, but if you want the people to do their job properly you have to bribe them.

My relative paid the medical staff to make sure his wife is taken care of

When a relative went to take his wife to deliver in a public hospital in Morocco, he was aware of the bribery system. So to make sure they didn’t have an unpleasant experience he paid the staff. Alhamdulillaah, the delivery was successful and they had an okay time at the hospital.

About a year later, another relative went and took his wife to deliver at the same hospital. It was their first child, and unlike the other family, he was unaware of the bribery system.

As a result, he had a completely different experience. He didn’t pay the staff, and their attitude ruined their experience for them.

Alhamdulillah in their case, they had no complications and they got off with just a bad memory of the staff’s attitudes. We had a friend in Kenitra, who was also unaware of the bribery system – and the staff ignored her needs and pleas. Unfortunately, in her situation, she lost her baby.

Islam on bribery

Bribery is prohibited in Islam, so as a Muslim, you may ask yourself – how do you deal with it?

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allah have mercy on him) said: If he gives him a gift so that he will refrain from wronging him or so that he will give him his rights, this gift is haraam for the one who takes it, but it is permissible for the giver to give it to him, as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “I give a gift to one of them and he will depart, carrying it under his armpit like fire.” It was said: O Messenger of Allah, why do you give them gifts? He said: “They insist on asking and Allaah insists that I should not be stingy.”

Giving to these people is permissible for the giver, but it is haraam for the taker to take it. You can find the Arabic source of Shaykh Taymiyah on bribery in Islam here.

Private Hospitals in Morocco and the Enforced C-section Procedures

We never had an experience with delivering in a private hospital until recently. My niece was born in Tetouan recently, and my brother and his wife had one of the most stressful experiences ever.

We always heard about private hospitals scaring mothers into C-sections, but didn’t realise the absurdity and severity of it until we experienced it ourselves. The first hospital they went to, checked her and said she needed a C-section. On what basis? They said she wasn’t dilated and her contractions weren’t strong enough (ugh).

The next hospital they went to took it to the next level. They claimed that the baby was weak and overdue and that my SIL would most likely need a C-section. I’ll be sharing the full story soon, but long story short the doctor scared them into it, claiming they might lose their baby. Later, my brother discovered many of his acquaintances’ wives who went to that same hospital had C-sections.

It makes me furious that to make extra money and to cut back on time, these doctors and hospitals are willing to endanger mothers and their babies unnecessarily and leave them with longer and more painful recoveries.

Not all private hospitals are like this. My brother and his wife were supposed to deliver their baby in Fnideq public hospital but decided to switch to a private hospital at the last minute. 

Ideally, they’d have shopped around for doctors and hospitals a few months prior, equip themselves with knowledge, and prepare accordingly. Usually, when they see you know your stuff they know better than to carelessly throw ridiculous claims and suggestions.

Alhamdulillah, it was a learning experience and the mother and the baby are well, and that’s the most important thing right now.

Not all private hospitals are bad

It’s worth to note that not all private hospitals are bad. You can find good God-fearing doctors in private hospitals that take your best interest to heart. You just have to find them. I know some expats who’ve had some really good obstrecian doctors.

When checking out private hospitals and shopping doctors, ask them questions. If their answers lead up to C-section without any strong medical basis, then that might be a red flag.

Midwife-owned Clinics in Morocco

A few years ago, Morocco passed a new law allowing midwives to open their own birth centres in the country.

Out of the three options, we had the best experience with midwife-owned clinics. My older brother and his wife had their first son there. A French sister we know also went to a midwife-owned clinic for her birth.

The clinic my brother went to in Tamesna was owned by two of the midwives that work there. He was allowed to be with his wife throughout labour and birth. The place was nice and clean, and the staff were friendly and nice.

They had to go in for a few appointments and register to be able to deliver there.

Generally, there are no doctors in midwife-owned clinics, but at the one my brother went to in Tamesna, you have the option to call in a doctor for 800 MAD. And if there’s any emergencies, they are able to send you to a nearby hospital.

The Cost of Delivering a Baby in Morocco

Public hospital delivery costs

Public hospitals are generally free, for both locals and residents. In all the times my family delivered there, they didn’t have to pay. You may have to pay if you spend an extra night, etc.

If you’re not exempt from medical costs, the public hospital charges between 1000 MAD and 1500 MAD for normal delivery. And for C-sections, it costs between 2500 MAD and 3500 MAD.

Private hospital delivery costs

In the private hospital my family went to in Tetouan, the cost of normal delivery was 6000 MAD and the caesarean was 12,000 MAD. However, if you are insured, the insurance company usually covers about 50 to 75%.

It’s important to note that different private hospitals can vary significantly in their cost and pricing, even if it’s in the same city.

This particular hospital in Tetouan has the packages set, so everything was inclusive except if my SIL decided to stay longer, as the cost will increase per night.

Some factors that may contribute to the fee of delivering in private hospitals:

  • Which room you selected
  • The doctor’s delivery fees
  • The hospital fees
  • Pain relief medications
  • Caesarean or normal delivery

So depending on these factors, some private hospitals may charge from 2000 MAD to 10,000 MAD for normal delivery, and 4000 MAD to 20,000 MAD for caesarean delivery.

Midwife-owned clinic costs

The midwife-owned clinic my brother and his wife went to in Tamesna cost 3000 MAD. And to get a doctor to come in, they’d have to pay an additional 800 MAD.

Registering Your Baby’s Birth in Morocco

When you leave the hospital or clinic after your baby is born, you will be given a birth notice, signed and stamped by the doctor or midwife who delivered your baby.

The registration process can seem intimidating, but the process is usually simple. To apply for your baby’s birth certificate, you’ll need the following documents.

  • Marriage Certificate
  • Parents Birth Certificate(s) (for Moroccan parents)
  • Signed Birth Notice of Your Baby
  • Copy of Passport (for non-Moroccan parents)
  • Copy of Carté Séjour (for foreign Moroccan residents)
  • Copy of CIN or CNIE (for Moroccan parents)
  • Doctor’s BCG Vaccine Certificate (depends on different different administration offices)

You need to take these documents with you to your local government administration office. In Morocco, we call this place ‘Muqaata’a’ or ‘Moqata’a’.

The BCG vaccine (for tuberculosis) . According to a British Moroccan blogger Amal, “Some expats have been able to register their babies without this but most administration offices require it”. In our experience, some Muqaata’a asks for it, and some don’t.

Additional Resources

Amal Samli, a British Moroccan blogger, wrote a very comprehensive article about prenatal care and childbirth in Morocco. You can read her article here: What to Expect When Having a Baby in Morocco – Taste of Maroc

You can also read the experience of an American blogger who is married to a Moroccan, Amanda, here: Pregnancy and Childbirth in Morocco – MarocMama

You can join a private FB group: Positive Birth Morocco, and be connected with other supportive mothers. The group was founded 8 years ago and has over one thousand members. There might be a delay in admin approval.

Alternatively, you can also join our sisters’ private FB group (Hijrah to Morocco community). You can find supportive sisters there, including myself, who will be happy to help you with any questions you may have, insha’Allah.

When I was expecting, one thing that really helped me to prepare for my birth was a book by Aisha Al Hajjar: AMANI Birth: Assisting Mothers for Active, Natural, Instinctive Birth. She’s an American midwife who reverted to Islam, and moved to Saudi.

In her book, she gives you a breakdown about the process of pregnancy, labour, birth and postpartum. She also lists medical interventions and common procedures in hospitals, their side effects and when you truly need them.

Islamic teaching and natural approach are the core basis of her book, and I highly recommend it. There’s also a Kindle edition of the book, which you can read for $0.0 if you have Kindle Unlimited. You can sign up to the 30-days trial using my link here.

Pin This for Later

Can You Have a Positive Birth Experience in Morocco?

Some of the stuff mentioned here can make anyone feel anxious. However, with the right planning and equipping yourself with the right knowledge and resources, you can have a positive birth experience in Morocco, insha’Allah.

Related blog posts:

I’ll be writing and sharing some tips on how you can improve your birth experience in Morocco. Stay tuned!

2 thoughts on “Giving Birth in Morocco? Here’s What You Should Know”

  1. Thanks for sharing this information. Can’t wait for the next post because i’m interested to find out if doulas are available in Morocco.

  2. Salam alaykom
    I gave birth in Morocco and have no negative experience whatsoever. Nobody forced anything on me, no induction or anything. I told my doctor plenty of times that I do not wish to have a C-section, and he respected that. I did.not want an epidural either 😉 If anyone living in Tetouan is looking for a trustworthy doctor, I recommend Dr Souhail Chemlali. I gave birth a Clinique Nakhil and was very happy with everything that they offered. We were charged 5000 DHS in total, which was later partly (about 75%, if I remember correctly) reimbursed by the insurance company.

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