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True cost of a travel nightmare: ‘You think the embassy will help – but it won’t’

“Charlotte was losing a lot of blood. We waited, not knowing if she had died.”

It had begun as a dream trip to the United Arab Emirates before the birth of her first child.

But when Charlotte Quanbrough, 29, went into labour 14 weeks early, she and her partner had to find help fast in an unfamiliar country while unable to speak the language and under the threat of imprisonment.

Ms Quanbrough said: “My waters broke in the hotel bathroom. We drove half an hour to find that the local hospital’s maternity ward had closed. When we got to another, no men were allowed so my partner had to wait outside.

“No one spoke to me in English until the doctor arrived, saying I needed a caesarean under general…