They will be able to talk to you about how being pregnant and giving birth might affect your mental health, and how any treatment you are on might affect you and your planned baby.
There are some types of medication that can affect your ability to get pregnant, and some others that have serious risks for the developing baby.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) lists the following in particular:
- Antipsychotics: Some types can make it harder for you to become pregnant – if this is happening it can be spotted through blood tests and you may be offered a different type.
- Anticonvulsants: these are used to treat bipolar disorder epilepsy, and some are not suitable for women who are planning a pregnancy because there are serious risks to the baby. If you are taking valproate or carbamazepine and you are planning to have a baby or become pregnant, your doctor should advise you to stop the medication gradually and switch to another medication if needed.
- Benzodiazepines: If you are taking a benzodiazepine and you are planning to have a baby, your doctor should talk to you about possibly stopping it gradually.
- Lithium: If there is no safer option (such as an antpsychotic) and you are prescribed lithium, your doctor should tell you about how it might affect your baby if you take it while you are pregnant; breastfeeding could be a problem as high levels of lithium are secreted in breastmilk, so women should not breastfeed if they need to take Lithium.
When you become pregnant, tell the midwife or doctor looking after your pregnancy about your mental health problem, so that you and your baby can get the best care.
If you have or had a serious mental health problem (such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, or have been admitted to a psychiatric hospital), the health professionals will work together to make a plan for your care during pregnancy, birth and afterwards.
- NICE (2014) Information for the public: Mental health in pregnancy and the year after giving birth. http://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/cg192/resources/information-for-the-public-mental-health-in-pregnancy-and-the-year-after-giving-birth-pdf
Some mums expect, or perhaps feel pressured, to feel excited and blessed during pregnancy. But unfortunately it isn’t always this rosy.
We all dream of floating serenely through pregnancy, channelling a sense of calm for the growing baby inside us. But, often, the reality is somewhat different. Try our practical tips to help you relax in pregnancy.
Stress in pregnancy is not unusual. Here are some ideas for how you can relax and look after your emotional wellbeing when you’re pregnant.
If you need help and support with your emotional health, there are a number of different options.
Pregnancy and having a baby can be an exciting and demanding time for women. If you have an existing or past mental health condition it brings extra challenges and you are at higher risk of relapse during this time than at others.
Myths and facts about mental health
ℹLast reviewed on February 1st, 2015. Next review date February 1st, 2018.