Starting a family might seem straightforward, but it is advisable to reach out to a medical practitioner from the outset to ensure a healthy pregnancy.
“For any couple planning a pregnancy, it is very important to schedule a pre-conception appointment with an Obstetrician/Gynaecologist,” says Dr Hoda Soliman, Consultant – Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Al Zahra Hospital Dubai.
Being well prepared for pregnancy and having a pre-conception appointment can help prevent medical problems before they begin.
“In this appointment, we do a check-up of the couple to make sure they don’t have any medical condition that might affect the outcome of pregnancy, such as diabetes, thyroid, high blood pressure, and eating disorders. We can then advise on lifestyle behaviours like smoking and drinking that might affect the baby’s growth or cause congenital disability.”
By visiting the hospital early on, Dr Soliman says, they can advise on the mother’s weight if she is obese or overweight. “We ask her to reduce her weight before pregnancy in an attempt to decrease the chances of developing type 2 diabetes during gestation and high blood pressure. If the mother is too underweight, there is a chance of growth restriction of the baby. We also review the family history of diabetes and high blood pressure and congenital anomalies that might affect the baby.”
For women who are lucky enough to fall pregnant quickly, regularly scheduled appointments can ensure optimum health for mothers and babies.
“When the woman becomes pregnant, it is important to see the obstetrician as soon as possible to check the whole maternal health,” says Dr Soliman. “We ensure the blood pressure is normal, no diabetes, check for anaemia and infections through blood work, and make sure the woman is taking prenatal vitamins.”
Help at hand
Of course, falling pregnant isn’t always easy and can sometimes take longer than expected.
“If the mother is struggling to get pregnant, she should be examined for general health to find out all the medical problems preventing her from getting pregnant. Depending on the cause, we work with experienced fertility specialists and partners who cover 360-degree fertility treatments both invasive and non-invasive,” adds Dr Soliman.
It isn’t only in the conception stage that women encounter difficulties; sometimes, there can be issues with pregnancy too.
“We are qualified and fully equipped to deal with high-risk pregnancies, for example, pregnancies complicated by diabetes or high blood pressure,” explains Dr Soliman. “We have a joint clinic between the obstetrician and the endocrinologist, and we deal with high blood pressure patients with the cooperation of our consultant cardiologists. We have all the necessary specialties to help us obstetricians manage different medical complaints during pregnancy.”
With every aspect covered, mothers usually go on to have a healthy pregnancy. When it comes to giving birth, all efforts are made to make that experience also as pleasant as possible.
“We always make sure that women have a pleasant birthing experience at Al Zahra Hospital Dubai, starting from the nurses in the clinics to the midwives,” says Dr Soliman. “We have well-experienced midwives who are very helpful to women in labour, both emotionally and psychologically.
While pain killers are available, there are birthing methods available at the hospital that may even remove the need for them.
“We have the option of a water birth – Al Zahra was the first hospital to introduce water birth in Dubai, and we have carried out more than 150 water births so far; many women found it a pleasant experience. Water birth can be a very relaxing experience for a lot of patients. It is proven that it decreases the need for pain killers and decreases the pain.”
Other birthing options include hypnobirthing, with its deep breathing exercises and relaxing techniques.
With the birth planned out as smoothly as possible, caring for the baby is every bit as essential, and Al Zahra Hospital Dubai has an excellent Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, says Dr Soliman.
“It is fully equipped to receive babies as early as 26 weeks and as low-birth weight as 600g.”
Finally, as any mother will testify, those first days with a new baby can often be daunting. And this is where the helping hands of Al Zahra Hospital Dubai continues to the next stage.
“We always support the mother in any problem that arises either during labour or after labour. The midwives are also specialised in supporting the mother in breastfeeding,” adds Dr Soliman.
From the moment you consider getting pregnant to after the baby’s birth, Al Zahra Hospital Dubai ensures 360-degree care for both mother and baby for a happy and healthy pregnancy as well as delivery.