Aim:The aim of this study was to describe self-reported oral health, oral hygiene habits and frequency of visits to a dentist among pregnant women visiting maternity hospitals in the United Arab Emirates. Material and methods:A cross-sectional study was conducted, with anonymous structured questionnaires distributed to 800 pregnant women who were chosen at random from attendants of three maternity and child health centres from various geographical areas of UAE, during January-March 2010. Results:The response rate was 93.7% (n=750). Less than quarter of the participated pregnant women were in their first trimester. Almost a quarter (23.5%) of the women believed that they had periodontal problem currently, while 46.3% reported having carious teeth. More than 44% reported having dental pain, and about 40% women felt that her oral health was poor. About 60% reported having heard about the possible connection between pregnancy and the oral health. About 94% of the women were brushing their teeth at least once a day. More than half of the women (58.3%) visited the dentist during their most recent pregnancy, mostly for dental pain. Conclusions:A large proportion of the pregnant women in this study had oral health problems; however, more than 40% of those women had not visited a dentist during their pregnancy, and the majority of those utilized dental services when they had dental pain only. To provide better oral health care, more knowledge needs to be made available to the pregnant women and the medical community. © 2011 John Wiley & Sons A/S.