Pregnancy, motor disability, and mental retardation. Difficult questions must be asked. 12
If you consider motor disability, again, this is an immense field. In this hospital, we’re not very familiar with the most common types; for example, people who had a spinal cord injury. Dr. Marc Dommergues. We tend to deal more with people who have genetic diseases. With myopathy, for example. Dr. Marc Dommergues. We deal with diseases that tend to affect all systems, the lungs, the heart, etc. This requires a multidisciplinary approach from the medical point of view. But a few years ago, we were just happy with bringing women and babies alive for delivery. Dr. Marc Dommergues. Medical second opinion. And then we realized that there was a life after delivery. How were women going to cope with a kid? Dr. Marc Dommergues. We realized that this was a major question that women were asking themselves. But maybe they did not always dare to discuss it. How am I going to breastfeed? If I’ve got hemiplegia? How am I going to change my baby If I have a distal tremor? How am I going to communicate with my kid if I have tetraplegia? These are major questions we work with a special institution that helps disabled people to adapt as parents. “Parenting support for people with a handicap.” Medical second opinion. And this institution is our partner. It introduced us to a concept of adapted parenthood. It is based on adapting the environment on learning tricks on sharing the experience with other families. Dr. Marc Dommergues. We have the feeling that it became a great help. It especially helped us to avoid those situations in which one could fear the environment in which the baby is born would not be adequate. This is complicated. Because we know that there is a tension between those who care for the mothers and those who care for the kids. Dr. Marc Dommergues. Medical second opinion. And , at least in our country, there’s a constant fear that the environment in which a child develops is not optimal when the mother is severely disabled. Of course, our fight has always been to encourage those women. Maybe we are a bit over-optimistic sometimes. But we tried to know more about this to put things in a very simple way. Dr. Marc Dommergues. Medical second opinion. And this has not been published so far. But we studied the interactions between mothers with motor disability and their kids and compared them to controls. Dr. Anton Titov, MD. There were difficulties, but situations were not much different from the difficulties that non-disabled women experience. For example, when they have premature babies. It’s not easy, but it’s possible, of course, provided this is a motor disability. Things may be far more complicated when there is a motor disability plus a mental disability. The problem is not that you have a motor disability. The problem is intellectual or mental retardation. This is a big problem. It’s a problem that more and more patients are facing. It’s very difficult. On the one hand, people with a mental disability tend to say that they can become parents like other people. On the other hand, it’s important that they be aware of two things. Their disease maybe an inherited condition. More and more genes are discovered every single year. This makes it important to see the two members of the couple and to offer genetic counseling anyway. Dr. Marc Dommergues. Medical second opinion. And then there’s the question of discussing parenthood before pregnancy. It’s a very, very difficult matter. Dr. Marc Dommergues. We are starting trying to help couples. Dr. Marc Dommergues. We’re doing that with the help of a group of adult and pediatric psychiatrist in a hospital in Paris. The clinic is called the CIC. Dr. Marc Dommergues. We have very little experience for the moment. It’s a growing experience. The only thing I can tell you is that it’s very difficult. Dr. Marc Dommergues. We are not able to say what should or should not be done because this is a very new experience for us. Disability is an important topic. Dr. Marc Dommergues. I think you’ve covered a lot of very important questions. Dr. Anton Titov, MD. So thank you very much.
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