Aims: To determine women's perceptions and experiences of childbirth in United Arab Emirates [UAE]. Methods: A consecutive sample of 715 women who delivered during a 3 month period were interviewed on the third postnatal day about their experience and satisfaction with maternity care using a structured questionnaire. Results: 95 (13.2 %) women had negative feelings including fear, anger, sorrow and regret, guilt, jealousy, sense of failure and disappointment while the rest felt that childbirth was enjoyable and that they had been well-informed, especially by nurses, about their perinatal care. Subjects delivered by cesarean (N = 104, 14.5 %) were significantly less satisfied with the information provided by their caregivers and their involvement in decision-making before the operation than the vaginal group (p = 0.001). Irrespective of mode of delivery, most participants strongly agreed that cesarean is worse than vaginal delivery whatever the reason and should be performed only for medical reasons. Adverse maternal experiences were significantly more frequent with cesarean delivery (p = 0.00001), older age (p = 0.04), primiparity (p = 0.03), higher education (p = 0.03), lack of antenatal care (p = 0.03) and prolonged labor (p = 0.04). Conclusions: Childbirth experience and the prevalence and correlates of postnatal psychosocial morbidity in UAE are not different from those observed elsewhere.