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Obstetrician-gynaecologists urge mental wellness for expectant mothers
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DUBAI: Two obstetrician-gynaecologists from Abu Dhabi and Sharjah have stressed the significance of maintaining mental wellness in the society’s basic unit and the necessary support systems.

Corniche Hospital-Abu Dhabi senior specialist Dr Sara El Faki and Dr Mona Azmy Zakriya Hassan of Zulekha Hospital-Sharjah into antenatal cases and high risk pregnancies among other sub-specialities, were interviewed on the topic of mental health in relation to women’s pregnancy on the first day of the Jan.19 to 21 “13th Emirates Obs-Gyne & Fertility Forum” in Dubai.

For the first time, the international congress features lectures on mental health that include proper diet and nutrition as presented by Dubai Health Authority-Clinical Nutrition Department director Dr Wafaa Helmi Ayesh.

She disagreed with a delegate who enquired about the vegetable moringa touted as the “magic food.”

“There is no magic food. It is all about balanced diet. God created it to be that all sources of food have their own nutritious value,” Ayesh said.

She highly recommended the consumption of all the natural foodstuffs over supplements which she tagged as “processed medications.”

Dr Deepti Kathpali of the Peaceful Mind Foundation (PMF) headquartered in India promoting mental wellness across the world, spoke about “Child and Adolescent Mental Health.”

The psychotherapist/certified Neuro-Linguistic Programming practitioner noted the morbidity and severity of children suffering from all forms of psychological disorders as a result of instabilities in the domestic domain.

She said all sectors must nip these cases in the bud not only on the professional level but more importantly through the empowerment of the families. It has been proven that neglect has resulted in horrible situations.

El Faki commented to The Gulf Today that the topic was “depressing.”

She welcomed the inclusion of mental health in the congress, claiming un-managed and neglected childhood traumas could be carried over through adulthood.

El Faki shared a global study showing women’s vulnerability to depression which spikes from four per cent to 20 per cent during pregnancy because it is at this condition when progesterone levels rise leading to ambivalent mood.

With this, it has been a standard practice at Corniche Hospital for all expectant mothers going through their first-time consultations to be asked of their experience and family history on depression and other related illnesses—as it has been done in the UK—in order that proper interventions become part of the subsequent pre-natal check-ups.

Hassan reiterated what El Faki had mentioned regarding the effects of mood swings and specifically depression among pregnant women.

concerted effort

These are the refusal to eat and take necessary vitamins as well as isolation or anti-social behaviour.

Hassan cited a case wherein a patient has been found to have tried to abort her baby several times because of depression compounded by forced marriage.

As protocol, the woman was referred to a psychiatrist for interventions and guidance.

Hassan said collaboration between ob-gynes and psychologists-psychiatrists is essential since some pregnant women exhibiting signs and symptoms of disorders cannot speak up in front of family members such as their husbands.

She mentioned “intra-uterine growth restriction” in which the foetus or baby does not fully develop and “become smaller in size” due to the refusal of the depressed or psychologically unstable pregnant women to follow the doctor’s orders and be negligent of her well-being.

Hassan believes all couple problems must be dealt with civilly between themselves alone in order to spare their children from any emotional, physical and mental scars.

Meanwhile, passed on to this reporter was a one-minute video on a University of Pittsburgh (US) study revealing that “shouting instead of educating causes significant changes in a child’s behaviour.”

It highlighted findings that children oftentimes shout at demonstrate aggression, low self-esteem, inclination to depression and victims of emotional problems. It stated that if parents do not want their children to behave properly and know how to control themselves, they must avoid being cruel. They “must not expect their children to behave properly and control themselves” if they themselves cannot.

PMF founder Dr Nabhit Kapour said psychological problems from across the world vary from one country to another.

He said these could be addressed through the formation of human resources adept to handle and promote mental health as wellness and not as illness or “madness.”

Congress president Dr Awati Al Bahar said a sound mind creates a healthy body and outlook which are critical for expectant mothers.

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