Up close and personal with Gynaecologist Dr. Aruna Kalra

Last Updated on September 23, 2023 by Neelam Singh

In a candid conversation with THIP Media, Dr. Aruna Kalra, a distinguished Obstetrician and Gynecologist practicing at CK Birla Hospital in Gurugram, opens up about her remarkable journey in the field of medicine. Dr. Kalra reflects on her experiences, shedding light on some of the most memorable moments that have shaped her career and her unwavering commitment to excellence in her field.

As a highly accomplished professional, Dr. Kalra has encountered a myriad of challenging situations and heartwarming triumphs throughout her career. Through this conversation, she generously shares insights into the ups and downs, the joys and struggles that have marked her path as a Gynecologist.

Moreover, Dr. Kalra delves into the profound motivation that fuels her dedication to her work every day. Her passion for obstetrics and gynecology, coupled with a deep sense of purpose, serves as a driving force behind her tireless efforts to provide the best possible care to her patients. Excerpts…

What inspired you to choose a career in gynecology and what drives your passion in this field?

Dr. Aruna Karla: Since childhood, I always wanted to become a doctor. I don’t know from where it came, because my parents were not doctor, nobody in my relation was doctor. But I guess I had a group of friends who were all preparing for medical exam. And that’s how I thought that doctor is the thing which I would want to become.

After joining MBBS and during my post-graduation years, I start developing a liking for the profession. During PG, I was in a government hospital, where I got to witness pain — psychological, mental, physical — of very low socioeconomic status women. When they were delivering girls after girls, and used to cry after the delivery, there was no one to take care of them. I think from there, the passion picked up. And today, after so many years I realise that the pain is same in every strata. Today in corporate hospitals, we see patients from educated and affluent class but the pain remains the same.

And as a women, I can relate to that. This profession needs empathy, compassion and psychological mutual relationship development between a patient and a gynecologist or obstetrician. I just loved this job through and through. Today, I work for pleasure. I do not consider this as my job, this is my passion. This is what I would do ever and ever in every life.

Share some memorable moment of your journey as a gynaecologist.

Dr. Aruna Karla: There are many, many many moments of happiness, grief and sadness of my journey. When you hand over a baby to a mother and when she starts breastfeeding or when she cries after seeing her crying baby, that is the most beautiful moment for anybody. After conducting thousands and lacs of deliveries, this is one such thing that gives me immense happiness. But there are sad moments also when I cried. I prayed to God against all norms and everything, that God please this time let her deliver a boy. I remember it was that woman’s fourth or fifth delivery with me.

Every time she came with this hope that I will deliver a boy for her and I told her many times that I’m not able to deliver a boy for you. But she kept coming to me for her delivery. But when she delivered a boy, I was the one who was the most happiest person. And yes this is so, so illogical for a gynecologist but this is how it is.

Gyne is a science. When I do surgeries, I know that this is a plant surgery, this is a cancer surgery, this is a fibroid surgery. I know that laparoscopically, I can beautifully remove all the fibroids from a young girl’s womb and reconstruct that womb. That is a science, and that is an art that I am good at. But Obstetrics is not a science. It is just a miracle. During delivery, anything can go wrong. They trust me fully. They have faith in me.

Do you think that right to conceive should be a woman right only, it’s not about partnership?

Dr. Aruna Karla: There is a big stigma here in India where women do not have right to use contraception. They are not educated about and so many people are illiterate. They do not know what contraception they can use. They have to ask their family, mostly their husbands.

Society dominates the decision. A husband would not use a condom. Its a women’s responsibility to use contraceptives as decided by their family. Also myths associated with oral contraceptive pills such as — they would make you obese, they can cause cancers, etc., make women especially young women to avoid them. As a result they are becoming pregnant sometimes in unwed situations. You cannot teach or preach abstinence to young girls or young boys. They should know about the safe use of contraception.

How has modern lifestyle affected the concept of pregnancy? Has it become more complex?

Dr. Aruna Karla: Today the concept of pregnancy has changed. Women would deliver, they would breastfeed for a year or two and they would take care of their kids. While doing this they start treating themselves as something special is happening to them. During pregnancy, women stop exercising, they stop working, they stop bending, they stop driving, they stop everything. It is a normal physiology. If you are pregnant, you do not need extra care. You have to work as anybody else is working.

And then they are new age myths like you cannot have papaya, pineapple, mango, graves, Baingan. You should celebrate everything in your life. Be logical. Everybody is — every mammal is feeding their child, newborn child. Why can’t you? Just because you have an alternative, just because you have breast pumps, just because you have formula feed, it does not mean that you should fall for all those things.

Physical fitness is very important. So yoga is good for normal vaginal delivery also. You devote 1 hour of yoga to yourself and we are always here to help.

As a doctor, what do you think about health literacy in present scenario?

Dr. Aruna Karla: In metropolitan cities, you are lucky that you have doctors who are giving you much time and proper medical education. So instead of taking online health education, you should come to the doctor, ask for proper books if they can refer to you proper books. Do not go for wrong health gyan, go for a right kind of books, right kind of health knowledge.

Why do people tend to focus less on postnatal care?

Dr. Aruna Karla: 90% females after delivery go for postpartum blues, not depression. Depression is only 2% to 10% but postpartum blues and care is given less importance. Mental health is important. Psychological support is important. Husband or family members should be around to take care of baby and the new mother.

What are your suggestions to new moms?

Dr. Aruna Karla: There is nothing like perfect parenting. You have to have only three things like care, love and security. You’re not a superhuman, your child is your reflection. They just need your care, security, love and compassion. And let the baby be reared by everybody in the family. Do not stress yourself. Live with your child happily.

How do you destress?

Dr. Aruna Karla: I love to dance. I learn Bharatanatyam dance. Whenever I get time I go to my guru to learn few steps and do dance practice. I am an avid reader. I read a lot, I’ve read many books and there are very — many books which I would read again and again. Animal Farm is one, Book thief is another. There is a beautiful line in Book Thief that ‘Competence is the most beautiful thing. It’s the most attractive thing you can have.’

We have a book club in which we have to read one book per month and that’s how we are introduced to many genres. And that’s how I have started to write. I am writing on new age parenting and new age pregnancy. How to handle all the myths and everything.

I do not like watching TV. After answering all the WhatsApp messages and all the emails by patients, I try to stay away from my phone and screen.

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