Planning a pregnancy when you have a severe mental health illness

This information is for you if you are a woman who has or had a severe mental illness and if you are planning to have a baby within the next 5 years.

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.

If you are on medication but your mental illness is not as severe as described above, there is information for you here.

Topics in Planning a pregnancy with a serious mental illness

More support for you

Thinking ahead

Sources

  1. 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
  2. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (2014. Updated 2018) Antenatal and postnatal mental health: clinical management and service guidance. Clinical guideline [CG192]. 
  3. 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. 
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