Category Archives: Teen pregnancy
A number of new studies have found that stress, depression or anxiety during and after pregnancy can have long lasting effects on the development of your child.
We have translated some of those findings into an Issue Brief and added some of our recommendations for evidence based interventions for parents.
This Issue Brief outlines not only the risk factors for parents, but also encourages the building of resilience to prevent or lessen the negative impacts for children.
“Caring for mothers and fathers – is caring for the future”
To commemorate International Youth Day we advocate for better mental health for vulnerable teenagers
Across the world, developing countries are making progress in tackling the HIV epidemic. According to UNAIDS, in 2012 South Africa registered more than 450,000 new HIV infections, a significant drop from the 640,000 new infections registered in 2001. They’ve achieved this radical progress through the provision of antiretroviral therapy (ART) to more than 2.4 million people.
The ‘New Beast’: Mental Illness Among People Living with HIV
In South Africa, 38% of people living with HIV have a common mental health disorder. This is more than triple the incidence of mental health conditions for the general South African population. What’s shocking is that in this era of ART, increased advocacy, and knowledge of the condition, there has not been a decrease in prevalence of mental illness in people living with HIV, but a two-fold increase.
Depression, anxiety and other mental health disorders are of particular concern in patients with HIV because they can lead to:
• Poor treatment adherence
• Lower CD4 counts
• Increased viral load
• A greater chance of developing drug-resistant strains of HIV
Source: Mental Health Innovation Network
HIV and Maternal Mental illness
The enormous emotional strain of living with HIV, including its social and financial consequences, makes women vulnerable to depression and anxiety. On the other hand, those women with mental illness are more vulnerable to becoming HIV positive. A depressed woman is less likely to be able to negotiate safe sex due to low self-esteem, a sense of hopelessness or financial dependency.
Women at risk
• HIV+ mothers are particularly vulnerable to mental illness during and after pregnancy
• Mental illness affects how women use maternity, child health services and HIV services
• Mental illness has been found to have negative impacts on how HIV+ women adhere to their own and their child’s HIV treatment
• Mental health support and social support for HIV+ mothers is vital for the general health of women, their babies and families
Read more on the subject in our Issue Brief
Teenage pregnancy and mental illness
Approximately 30% of teenagers in South Africa report ‘ever having been pregnant’, the majority, unplanned. The likelihood of a subsequent teenage pregnancy nearly doubles when adolescent mothers suffer from depression.
Adolescents at risk
• Adolescents who become pregnant are more likely to have relationships that are coercive and abusive
• They are more likely to have had a forced first sexual experience, or physical or sexual abuse, and tend to experience a loss of support from family, friends or school
• They are also more likely to engage in high risk sexual behaviour or be using substances and alcohol
• Adolescent and young pregnant women are at increased risk of mother-to-child transmission of HIV
Read more on the subject in our Issue Brief
We kick off South African Women’s Month with one of our most powerful stories.
Based on Xolelwa’s story, this documentary takes you into the world of mothers with depression.
Award-winning Director Simon Wood, spent time with Xolelwa in Khayelitsha, Cape Town, where rates of postnatal depression are three times higher than in developed countries.
Mental Health: The Missing Piece in Maternal Health
blogging for moms mental health
this fantastic blog series is co-hosted by the Maternal Health Task Force, the Mental Health Innovation Network at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Dr. Jane Fisher of Monash University.
Click on one of the images to bookmark this blog series or contribute a post,
by contacting Katie Millar at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Perinatal Mental Health Project (PMHP) requires the services of a Research Officer / Senior Research Officer. This is a full time post for a one year contract with appointment, starting as soon as possible. The appointee will be based at the PMHP offices on UCT’s Sawkins Road campus, but may need to travel locally, nationally and internationally.
- Masters degree in Public Health or Psychology (or similar training and skills set).
- Track record of publications in peer-reviewed journals
- Thorough working knowledge of statistical packages for data analysis and ability to interpret results
Additional qualification required for Senior Research Officer:
- PhD in relevant discipline (e.g. Public Health, Psychology, Development studies
- Evidence of successful research grant awards
- Experience in liaising with international researchers and programmes
- Experience of research project management
The main purpose of this position is to:
- Co-ordinate PMHP research activities
- Contribute to other research projects with which the PMHP partners
- Pursue research grants for the PMHP
Find more details and how to apply at the UCT Vacancy pages
FunDza Literacy Trust has published a fictional story, sponsored by the PMHP, about a young woman who is terrified of becoming a mother.
Kamvi is pregnant and dreading the long summer holiday ahead. She is terrified of giving birth and feels alone. Cynthia is the only friend who has stuck by her. But even Cynthia is out partying, something Kamvi longs to do, but can’t. How will she cope? And where is Yanda, the father of the baby?
The story was sponsored by the Perinatal Mental Health Project (UCT) and we are providing access to information, such as the Maternity Booklet,
for everybody out there looking for information and support.
FunDza is getting teens and young adult South Africans reading for pleasure and believes that all South Africans should have the opportunity to fall in love with reading with all its benefits. FunDza uses cellphone technology, and book distribution, to get readers hooked on exciting, relevant content in even the remotest parts of our country.
a multi-country study by the World Health Organization (WHO)
published in ‘BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology’
Special Issue: Maternal and Perinatal Morbidity and Mortality: Findings from the WHO Multicountry Survey
Volume 121, Issue Supplement s1, pages 40–48,March 2014
Adolescent pregnancy was associated with higher risks of adverse pregnancy outcomes. Pregnancy prevention strategies and the improvement of healthcare interventions are crucial to reduce adverse pregnancy outcomes among adolescent women in low- and middle-income countries.
To access the full article go to the Wiley Online Library
“In advance of International Women’s Day on 8 March 2014,
WHO is launching new guidance to help countries ensure human rights are respected in providing more girls, women, and couples with the information and services they need to avoid unwanted pregnancies.
An estimated 222 million girls and women who do not want to get pregnant, or who want to delay their next pregnancy, are not using any method of contraception. Access to contraception information and services will allow better planning for families and improved health.
The guidance recommends that everyone who wants contraception should be able to obtain detailed and accurate information, and a variety of services, such as counselling as well as contraceptive products. It also underlines the need for no discrimination, coercion or violence, with special attention given to assuring access to those who are disadvantaged and marginalized.”
via WHO Media Centre
Download WHO guidance here
SA pupils had more than 200 000 babies in 3 years
About 206 891 babies were born to schoolgoing teenage girls in South Africa between 2009 and 2012, the Education For All report has revealed.
When the research was conducted, 81 655 girls were pregnant, while 8 903 reported stillbirths, says the report, adding that 4 134 had undergone abortions.
The report, which raises the alarm about teenage pregnancy, was published by the Department of Basic Education this month.
Read the full Education for All (EFA) 2013 Country Progress Report here (find under 7.5: Teenage Pregnancy)