x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Pregnant women should not perform Haj, UAE mission warns

An Emirati woman delivered her baby while performing Haj in Saudi Arabia, but the head of the medical committee at the official UAE Haj mission warns women against doing so as this puts their lives at risk.

The head of the medical committee at the official UAE Haj mission has warned women who are pregnant next year not to travel to Saudi Arabia, saying they would be putting their own lives at risk as well as that of their baby.

Dr Abdulkareen Al Zarouni’s  warning comes after an Emirati woman gave birth to a baby boy while performing Haj on the second day of Eid.

Mohammed ibn Abdullah was born without complications, but his parents must await birth documents and exit permits before leaving the Saudi kingdom, according to the UAE consulate, which says it is taking the necessary steps.

The child’s mother, Hanadi Al Muheiri, was in her ninth month of pregnancy when she started her Haj and the birth went smoothly after she was transferred to hospital.

However, Dr Al Zarouni criticised performing Haj while pregnant.

“A pregnant woman who comes to Haj does not think about her foetus or her health,” said Dr Al Zarouni. “She thinks Haj is a short period and it will all be over shortly.”

He warned that people were often unaware of the hardship involved in Haj and cautioned that they would visit places where medics could not access them. He cited a stampede at the train station in which the only doctors available to help were those who were themselves on Haj.

“Also, people surrounding such women often encourage them by making matters sound so easy and simple,” he said.

He added that from a religious perspective, hiding one’s pregnancy was not right. “When I go on Haj I have to follow the rules. It is not right to commit a violation while performing an act of worship.”

He stressed the pregnant woman was risking her life and that of her baby by performing Haj.

“It is possible to travel on holiday during certain months of pregnancy, but definitely not Haj – at any stage of pregnancy. She should have waited until the following year,” he said.