Maternity Matters at Sino-Luso 44

By Christopher Cottrell// Images: Christopher Cottrell //

The 44th Sino-Luso International Medical Forum in Macao from 19-22 August closed strong today with doctors from around the world—two presentations from Hong Kong covering saving babies and women stood out.

Indeed, the Multidisciplinary Conference on Aesthetic Medicine, Obstetrics & Gynecology, and Life Sciences had several days of lectures and hands on training workshops for Macau’s frontline healthcare providers.

At the Dr. Stanley Ho Medical Center in the Landmark on Sunday, a large series of lectures were held, including a strong afternoon session with Dr. Amelia Pui-wah Hui and Ms. Grace Gar-yee Ma.

Dr. Amelia Pui-wah Hui, consultant at Queen Mary Hospital and honorary Clinical Associate Professor of the University of Hong Kong, who gave a power presentation on live-saving fetal intervention, commented, “While their still in utero through the pre-natal period, we are making advances so they can actually survive in conditions that we used to think were not very compatible for them to survive, can now be managed.

Commenting further on her take-away message, Dr. Pui-wah Hui explained, “With more sophisticated ultra-sound machines with better imaging quality, you can actually go and draw a needle with ultra-sound guidance to exactly where you want it. This obviously needs some training, and lots of hand eye coordination. It’s not something that can be mastered in a short period of time. All these treatments are dependent on those who’ve been trained. Usually in Hong Kong this is done in internal medicine clinics.”

She added, “Also, for example, with laser treatment modules, once you master it, you can start with supervision on real patients. It’s making possible what we thought impossible in the past, and it has actually been quite revolutionary in the past decade.”

Ms. Grace Gar-yee Ma, a midwife consultant at Queen Mary Hospital in Hong Kong, who discussed different birth positions and the “labour dance”, said of the audience involvement, “One ladies asked if the middle and final stages of mid-wife supervised birth. They worry about the different positions. The separation of the placenta and how to manage the breathing. The woman can change positions in the second stage. But all the positions must be managed in the bed, with the electric bed. It’s easy to change them from other positions.”

She continued, “ Another lady asked about Caesarian and the position of the cervix at 9cm. Could we try? Of course yes. Can try. It all depends on the outlet and position, and due to fetal head, maybe turn the baby into descending position. Also keeping her upright may increase the contractions.”

What about the “labour dance” or small limber movements to help leg and pelvic muscles prepare for the birth. She said, “They don’t need to learn how to dance. They need to know how to do the simple labour dance, which is not really dancing. Then during the labor, you just help them. Simple and easy.”

Whilst water applications are sometimes used in birthing, she adds that Hong Kong really doesn’t have pool rooms—and that Chinese cultural traditions place taboos on water and giving birth. “Water is a good method for pain relief, but we Chinese in Hong Kong we don’t have a pool in the public hospital. Some believe water is not good for pregnant women, or for the post-natal period. They don’t like touching water.”

Dr. Billy Chan, Vice President of the Sino-Luso International Medical Forum, “These amazing ladies, and all of our doctors, are adding benefits to their patients and the future. I’m proud they could come here and help us.”

Dr. Chan, who is also the Director for the Center of Medical Professional Development at the Faculty of Health Sciences at the Macau University of Science and Technology, added, “We look forward to having them back and that our nurses and doctors can improve their methods in taking care of babies and mothers.”

The Sino-Luso International Medical Forums have been running since 2011 and are supported by the National Health Commission of China in Beijing, as well as a host of Portuguese speaking health associations in Macao.

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