Having a baby is a huge and exciting step in life. You may be planning your first pregnancy or you may already have children. Either way, you have the right to choose when to try for a baby and how many children you would like to have.
A severe mental illness is one that can affect your ability to take part in your usual daily activities. Examples include bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, severe depression and psychosis.
You may also find the information helpful if you are already pregnant.
If you don’t have a diagnosed mental illness, you can read about looking after your mental wellbeing when you’re planning a pregnancy.
Read about your antenatal (pregnancy) care when you have a serious mental illness
Hormones released during pregnancy can mean that a well-managed condition can get worse but being prepared is everything.
Now is the time to talk to your doctor about medication - to make sure you're on the most suitable treatment for pregnancy
It takes less time than you might think to get pregnant once you start trying for a baby
The earlier the better when you are planning a pregnancy with a serious mental illness
Being smoke free is the one most important thing you can do for the health of your future baby.
The people around and close to you will have a big positive effect on how you manage pregnancy and after.
There are many supportive organisations and resources available to help you
- Resolution XVIII: Human Rights Aspects of Family Planning, Final Act of the International Conference on Human Rights. U.N. Doc. A/CONF. 32/41, p15
- National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (2014. Updated 2018) Antenatal and postnatal mental health: clinical management and service guidance. Clinical guideline [CG192].
- McAllister-Williams RH et al. (2017) British Association for Psychopharmacology consensus guidance on the use of psychotropic medication preconception, in pregnancy and postpartum 2017. J Psychopharmacol. 31(5): 519-552.