How to embrace motherhood and the challenges that new mums face

The latest edition of wknd. Conversations brought together medical experts and influential voices to spread awareness around postnatal care


Somya Mehta

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(From left to right) Dr Hend Amin Atwa Khalil, Dr Jasbir S. Chhatwal, Dr Humera bint Raees, Dr Zulekha Daud and Dr Laxmi Vijay Yaliwal
(From left to right) Dr Hend Amin Atwa Khalil, Dr Jasbir S. Chhatwal, Dr Humera bint Raees, Dr Zulekha Daud and Dr Laxmi Vijay Yaliwal

Published: Thu 22 Dec 2022, 10:03 PM

The recent edition of wknd. conversations, in partnership with Zulekha Hospital, gathered medical professionals, health coaches and influencers to celebrate and embrace modern motherhood.

The event that took place on December 15, gathered guest panellists and audience members at One Life Kitchen and Café, Dubai Design District, to discuss motherhood and post-natal care, a topic that deserves more mainstream awareness than it currently enjoys. Being a pioneer in gynecology services within the UAE healthcare industry, Zulekha Hospital facilities offer premium solutions designed to serve every need of new mothers and children. Striving to make motherhood a pleasant and joyful experience, the organisation gave a new identity to their maternity care services, naming ‘Zulekha Embrace’. The founder and chairperson of Zulekha Group and the UAE’s first gynecologist, Dr Zulekha Daud, herself unveiled the logo for this new healthcare initiative.

The event kickstarted with a mindfulness and sound healing session conducted by yoga practitioner, Mohit Tyagi, following which the panel discussions took place.

The first session was a discussion around the journey of new mothers, from conception to childcare, and the panel members included Dr Humera bint Raees, laparoscopic gynae surgeon and specialist obstetrician, Dr Jasbir S. Chhatwal, specialist — obstetrics and gynecology, Dr Henna Kutty, lifestyle medicine physician, holistic health and nutrition coach and Melda Akin, CEO, D14.AI.

Dr Henna Kutty (left) and Melda Akin
Dr Henna Kutty (left) and Melda Akin

“The most important thing is to give mothers a safe environment during their pregnancy,” said Dr Humera. “They should remember their pregnancy as a joyful experience rather than a stressful one. That will also lead to a happy and heathy baby. Zulekha Hospital clinicians are also specially trained in dealing with patients with high-risk pregnancies, making sure they get enough support.”

Defining high-risk pregnancies, Dr Jasbir added, “Any pregnancy in which we anticipate more complications in the mother or the baby, we define it as high-risk pregnancy.” The reasons leading to high-risk pregnancies can be varied, the doctor pointed out. “Some conditions that can cause high risk pregnancies are when the mother has diabetes, blood pressure, autoimmune diseases or if there are complications in the baby,” said Dr Jasbir.

Adding to that, the holistic health coach, Dr Henna, mentioned, “It is very important that mothers look out for support when they need it, especially when it comes to nutrition and mental health. I always tell new mothers that they first have to take care of themselves otherwise they will not be able to look after their child.”

The second session comprised panellists Dr Hend Amin Atwa Khalil and Dr Laxmi Vijay Yaliwal, who are specialists in obstetrics and gynecology, Haniya Mahmood, holistic health coach, Melissa Kai, head of marketing, Mumzworld and Amina Chokaeva, entrepreneur and co-founder, Females Freedom.

(From left to right) Haniya Mahmood, Melissa Kai and Amina Chokaeva
(From left to right) Haniya Mahmood, Melissa Kai and Amina Chokaeva

The discussion spotlighted the importance of post-conception lifestyle management. “Undiagnosed conditions related to lifestyle issues leading up to a pregnancy, can also cause complications in the pregnancy, for both the mother and the child,” said Dr Hend.

There are several challenges new mothers face, post-conception and postpartum, making it difficult for women to navigate and manage them. “There isn’t enough awareness around this but women face several postpartum issues. Sleep is one of the main issues, the baby doesn’t have a set cycle and that takes a toll on the mother’s sleep as well. There’s also body-image disorder that women go through when they put on weight post-pregnancy,” said Dr Laxmi.

“The root cause of postpartum depression is the lack of human connection and support,” Haniya pointed out. “Nowadays, people are so busy that they don’t have enough time for each other, which can make new mums feel lost and alone.”

Having the support of a community, whether virtual or in-real-life, can be vital. “Motherhood is not something you can learn in books or at school or university. It’s something that you learn everyday while you experience it,” said Melissa. “This is why we created a community platform like Mumzworld. It’s not just a platform to purchase products, it is a complete extension of a mother’s life. A platform to support mothers and empower them.”

To this, Amina added, “Women should actively become part of experiences where they can bond with other women and feel connected.”

The event was concluded with a round of questions from the audience members, followed by a scrumptious meal served by the restaurant. The members left with a goodie bag courtesy Zulekha Hospital.

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