It is time that women in India plan their pregnancies like their western counterparts. The equipment and expertise needed to do that is now available here, says Foetal and Maternal medicine expert Padma Paturi.
Having the unique distinction of being a member of both the Royal College of Physicians (MRCP) and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (MRCOG), she also has a radiologist’s degree in advanced obstetric ultrasound from the Joint College of Obstetricians and Radiologists.
After training and working in the UK for 15 years Dr. Padma, who did her MBBS from Siddhartha Medical College and MD in Obstetrics and Gynaecology in India, has come back to serve people in Vijayawada by providing the best in Foetal and Maternal medical care.
Talking to The Hindu, Dr. Padma said that several pregnancies that need not be terminated were being terminated. And pregnancies that should actually be terminated were not being done, because of the delay. According to the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act termination of pregnancy was not allowed after 20 weeks (five months).
When there is a delay in detecting abnormalities the problem is that the pregnancy cannot be terminated because it is against the law. There are great advances in foetal medicine and it is possible to detect most of the abnormalities before 20 weeks, she said.
Late diagnosis was creating severe problems with some parents seeking the help of unscrupulous elements. On the other end of the spectrum pregnancies were being terminated even for insignificant abnormalities, she revealed.
Explaining the importance of a Foetal Medicine expert performing the ultra sound scan, she said, foetal experts, unlike the regular radiologists or doctors, however thorough they may be, were better suited to do the scan because the expert knew what to look for.
She said that one in every ten foetuses had one abnormality or the other. There was no need to terminate all these pregnancies, but they need to be managed properly. There were abnormalities in the foetus even in low-risk pregnancies.
She said that foetal medical experts talk in terms of weeks. By conducting the first scan been 11 and 14 weeks all the abnormalities could be detected and in case there was one, the pregnancy could be terminated, within the legal period. This was a little confusing to mothers.
The paramedics, however, need to be trained to help the pregnant mother to convert from months to weeks, she said. One thorough scan at the correct time would help both the mother and the regular doctor plan the pregnancy better. With advances in medicine the group of mothers who want to have children despite odds was growing. This was already the scenario in the West, she said.