Dr Raja Gangopadhyay is the Founder of International Forum for Wellbeing In Pregnancy (IFWIP).
He is a Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist from the United Kingdom, with a special interest in Perinatal Mental Health (PMH). He is a passionate campaigner to provide comprehensive obstetric care for women with all kinds of Perinatal Mental Health illnesses during their pregnancy and after the childbirth, which includes physical, mental and social well-being (as defined by the World Health Organisation).
In conjunction with his multidisciplinary team, he has been championing joint approaches to perinatal mental health that take into account infant mental health. He is a well-known trainer, speaker, blogger and great advocate for holistic care during pregnancy and women’s choices. His work has often attracted the attention of the media and has appeared in many media interviews. (Brief Bio: Click here)
‘Mothers & Families are first and foremost’
His mission is to promote health and well-being during every pregnancy regardless of the pregnancy outcome. He firmly believes that this is possible only through the participation of the entire community.
There are different schools of thought and practice to support the mother and her family during the pregnancy. Therefore, it is important to understand the practice of experts from all different fields who are involved in supporting mothers and families during pregnancy and post-childbirth period.
“Have a heart that never hardens, and a temper that never tires, and a touch that never hurts.” – Charles Dickens
He believes that the most important aspect of care is listening to the mothers (and their families) to shape the healthcare system and their opinion and views should be the first and foremost factor for every care pathway.
Brief Bio: Click here
During very early days of his training in Obstetrics, Dr Gangopadhyay encountered a mother who developed Postpartum psychosis the day following her childbirth. The turning point of his life came, when the husband of the woman asked him, “Could you please tell me what could have been done during pregnancy to prevent this serious condition of my wife?” The quest for the answer led him to a remarkable journey of revelations of the truth and realities of the care mothers often receive with regards to their mental wellbeing during pregnancies.
He studied extensively the different maternal mental health conditions and realised that so many things can be done during pregnancy to minimise the risk of developing mental illnesses following childbirth. Moreover, he was amazed to find out how stress and mental health conditions during pregnancy could adversely affect the pregnancy outcomes, marital relations, and partner’s mental health. During his clinical practice, he witnessed with his own eyes the real impact of such conditions on the life of the mothers and families.
In spite of these glaring facts, Perinatal Mental Health (PMH) has still remained ‘Cinderella’ in many Maternity pathways across the world. Also, there is significant lack of awareness about this condition in the society (often including many healthcare professionals) all over the world and sadly so many myths still exist in spite of advancement of science.
He spoke extensively to people from all walks of life in the society from different parts of the world (including many mothers and families, health experts, healthcare professionals, policymakers, politicians, human right activists) and came to the conclusion that there is an urgent need for a comprehensive awareness programme on the mental health and well-being of the mothers during pregnancy. This must also include educating family members and every member of the society. This is perhaps the only way to remove the shame, guilt, isolation, and stigma which often accompany these health conditions and force mothers to suffer in silence.
For this reason, he has taken this initiative to set up this Forum to bring together everyone to join the conversation and raise awareness.