1. Women who are living with mental illness can attain pregnancy. Mental illness can also occur for the first time in an expectant woman.
2. It is known that pregnancy increases the risk of suffering a mental illness both during the pregnancy and upto 3 months after delivery. Therefore pregnancy does not protect against mental illness.
3. Depression occurs in approximately 1 in 4 of all expectant women. More than half recover without treatment.
4. Depression during pregnancy can affect the IQ of a child through poor diet.
5. The risk of suffering psychosis (break with reality, abnormal behaviour , disorganized speech etc) increases 20 times after delivery.
6. Common medications used for treating mental illnesses are not safe in pregnancy. Some are known to cause abnormalities in the unborn child while the safety of some of the medications in pregnancy is uncertain.
7. A woman who is on treatment for any mental illness (including epilepsy) and is planning a pregnancy should make an appointment with a psychiatrist to have a review in their medication and an updated plan of management.
8. Psychiatric illness is a risk factor for congenital malformation (defects present in a child at birth) as well as death of child shortly before or after birth. (Perinatal mortality).
9. The most crucial period in the development of an unborn child is the 1st 8 weeks after conception. Unfortunately a majority of mothers may not be aware or sure of their pregnancy in this period. Hence the importance of no. 7.
10. Good mental health of the mother results in better self-care, wellbeing and development of the child. Those who need mental health services should be referred promptly and appropriately.
Le president de l’Union pour la Democratie et le Progrès Social (UDPS) est mort.
Africa mourns the passing away of the indefatigable champion of democracy from la Republique Democratique du Congo, M. Etienne Tshisekedi. He was the father of democracy in his motherland.
I first heard his name in 1997, while in primary school. The rebel troops of Laurent Kabila were sweeping through the provinces of Zaire enroute to Kinshasa. Uncertainty hang in the air as a showdown loomed between Kabila’s rebel forces and loyalist troops of long serving strong man, Mobutu Sese Seko (the great plunderer). The international media made a loud count-down of Kabila’s rapid advance. But another name was making concurrent headlines; Etienne Tshisekedi.
M. Tshisekedi had endured years of persecution under Mobutu. He was imprisoned many times for his beliefs, chief among them the demand for the democratization of the Congo. Now as rebellion grew in the East , he stood up to the vile dictator one more time mounting a resistance in the capital that paved the way for Kabila’s final victory. Mobutu was toppled. However Tshisekedi soon fell out with Kabila as the latter banned political parties and consolidated power. The struggle for democracy continued.
M.Tshisekedi enters his final rest when the DRC is at the threshold of democratic transition. He was instrumental in a recent deal between president Joseph Kabila and the opposition in which Kabila will leave power peacefully after a one year extension of his presidency but will have to appoint a prime minister from the opposition with whom to co-manage the transition.
Sadly, but following the script of the greats, Monsieur Tshisekedi will never bask in the glory of the new DRC he yearned and fought for his entire life. However the generations that come after him will celebrate him as one of Africa’s greatest pro-democracy champions. He was an exemplary figure. The continent has lost a soldier in the non-violent struggle for change.
The greatest homage the DRC can pay its selfless son on behalf of Africa is the peaceful transfer of political power from the govt. of president Joseph Kabila to a new govt. within one year.
Reposez en paix monsieur Etienne Tshisekedi wa Mulumba.