Inner West Mums recently had the pleasure of speaking with Dr Ujwala Parashar, an obstetrician and gynaecologist who practices at the North Shore Private Hospital and the Mater Hospital. As well as juggling this incredibly busy career, Dr Parashar is down to earth, compassionate and has a great sense of humour. In addition, Dr Parashar is married and a mother to two daughters under seven.
Dr Parashar is highly experienced and has been practicing for 15 years. Along with taking a holistic approach to providing the best possible care, she places a great deal of importance on building and maintaining a one-to-one relationship with her patients.
Tell us a little about yourself
I am an obstetrician and gynaecologist and I have two beautiful daughters, aged six and five. I studied medicine overseas before I moved to Australia 15 years ago to pursue my specialist training at the Royal North Shore Hospital.
After working in public hospitals for 5 years, I moved to a private practice because it allows me to foster a more personal and one-to-one relationship with my patients, which is absolutely key for me. Building a strong relationship from pre-pregnancy right up to the delivery and beyond is simply invaluable and ensures that we are on the same page throughout.
Why did you decide to pursue a career in medicine?
That’s an interesting question. I grew up in a family of doctors – my mum was an obstetrician gynaecologist and my dad was a paedriatician. Growing up, we always had conversations about choosing medicine as a career and medicine always intrigued and fascinated me. While in medical school, I helped my mother during a birth and then another and so on – and my passion for obstetrics and gynaecology has only grown from there! I enjoy helping in bringing a new life into this world and being a part of this memorable time with the parents.
What services do you offer and where do you practice?
As part of my obstetric services, patients not only meet regularly with me but have consultations with our midwife (around 28 weeks) and with a pelvic floor physiotherapist (at 30 weeks). This gives parents-to-be an opportunity to learn more from these specialists and to ask questions about anything from pre-birth or labour, through to feeding and what to do once you take your baby home! After the birth, patients can also schedule an appointment with the midwife to visit their home and to help with questions that they may have or if they are having lactation issues. Having had lactation issues myself, I found having this support after the birth to be invaluable.
How would you describe your style as an obstetrician?
I am a holistic person and this is the approach I like to take with my patients. I believe that pregnancy and birth is not just about the physical but also the emotional side – 40% is physical and 60% is emotional. I believe that taking both of these aspects into consideration allows me to provide the best care possible to my patients.
I also think good, clear and open communication is pivotal and I like to know my patients’ expectations in advance. The one-to-one relationship is most important to me, providing the best possible holistic-care for all my patients at every step from pre-pregnancy to childbirth and gynaecological management too.
Being a mother of two, how to do you juggle motherhood and a career with a high level of responsibility?
It is challenging and definitely a juggle! I believe that it is a team effort and my husband has been a really strong factor. He is an incredibly supportive partner who takes a lot of the load and understands the responsibility that I have with my patients. I often take my two daughters into the office so that they can see what I actually do. I find that helps them understand that these women – my patients – need me. Sometimes I take my daughters around the wards to meet my patients too, and this exposure to my work helps them to understand that their mum has an important job.
In your opinion, to help couples make a decision on whether to go with private vs public care, what are the main differences?
When you first discover you are pregnant, it’s good to consider what’s most important to you. Some people find that the key is to have a consistent relationship with an obstetrician so that they can get a better understanding of the whole experience and knowing the person who will be there with them throughout. If your financial circumstances allow, going with private care will provide you with that close contact to guide you through each step. The public system also provides great care but you may not get the obstetrician you want at the birth.
In private care, if we are planning holidays, we tell our patients six months to a year in advance.
Many of our Inner West Mums community are from overseas, from your experience what has helped you to help establish yourself and a community in Sydney?
It’s such a multi-cultural society here in Australia. I think having a good rapport as well as respect towards all cultures is really important. I have great peer support here, which has really helped me grow. I have a really good network of colleagues from all different backgrounds and a strong network of friends too.
Favourite places in the Inner West?
The Inner West has so much on its doorstep, I lived there for 10 years and my husband and I used to love going out for breakfast in Balmain. I am a real foodie and find that the Inner West has every type of food! I especially love fusion food.
What was the last book you read?
I would love to say that I had time to read a book! At the moment, any spare time I spend reading up on the COVID pandemic. It has also been busy lately sorting the backlog of gynaecological surgeries which were cancelled due to the crisis. My luxury at the moment, is if I can get a little time at the weekend for a glass of wine and spend time with my daughters. However, I read a lot to my girls, we recently read ‘Chicken Divas’! 🙂
For more information about Dr Parashar and her services please visit her website.