Bi Polar and Pregnancy

Updated on July 07, 2009
K.B. asks from Rensselaer, NY
5 answers

My pregnancy for my son was very rough. I has huge mood problems and depression which I had never had before. When it didn't go away for almost a year and a half after his birth I went to a psychiatrist who diagnosed me as bipolar. I have been on many meds and finally feel like I am on a mixture that works well for me. I am currently on four meds which me doctor says I can't take during pregnacy. He recommends I come off all of my meds but on named Seroquel. Has anyone been on this medicine during pregnancy? It is a class c medication for pregnancy which means there is not enough research known about it but all the bipolar medications seem to be in this category. I really want to try for another baby but not if I can't do it safely. Coming off all my medication is not an option. Does anyone have any advice of medications that are safe for bipolar disorder and pregnancy? Thanks!!! K.

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answers from New York on

K., I would never use medication of any kind while trying to concieve a baby. The last thing you need is a baby with birth defects or death. You should detox your body and I guarantee you that you will get off of the meds.

T. Hall Parker, Holistic Health Counselor
My Food Therapy
Momma Dont Eat It



answers from New York on

I was on lithium w/both my pregnacies - I was considered a high risk pregnancy b/c the one major issue was something w/the development w/one of the chambers in the heart but that was all monitored & I had every test known to man. A lot of times the drs feel that if it is more detrimental to your health to go off of your medications, that it outweighs the side effects.

Have they ever tried you on that? I've been on it since 1994, only taken off once for a switch to depakote that didn't turn out to work as well. Good luck!



answers from New York on

Dear K.,

I can't recommend a specific medication (sorry!), but you might want to consult with a naturaopathic physician. He/she might be able to recommend a natural/organic/herbal alternative to Seroquel that might be safe during pregnancy. If you do decide to go this route, I really recommend seeking out an ND (doctor of naturopathic medicine) or an ND/MD rather than an herbalist without a medical degree. You don't want to mess around with a mood disorder.

And, if I may, kudos to you for managing this so responsibly. My SIL is bipolar too, and like yours, her symptoms only appeared after the birth of her son. However, she has refused to take any meds, and the results have thrown our entire family, and most of all the life of my poor little nephew, into turmoil. I know this goes beyond the scope of your question, but it's not always easy or fun to stick with a complex drug regimen, and I have a lot of respect for you.



answers from New York on

Taking any medication during pregnancy carries significant risks. Seroquel is a mood stabilizer, which likely is recommended to help maintain an "even" level during pregnancy, but it will not keep you from experiencing the episodes of depression.

Here's the deal, most psychiatric medications are prescribed with a contingency for some form of therapy to assist you in learning how to modulate your mood and recognize the symptoms of a "swing" as they are coming on.

I am a psychologist, not a psychiatrist, so take this with a grain of proverbial salt... If you are not currently involved with a cognitive-behavioral therapist get one! Work with this person over the coming months while on medication to develop some C-B strategies. This will NOT "fix" the problem, but might help you while pregnant. Work with your psychiatrist (I hope this is who is prescribing) and the therapist to determine when you are ready to try again. You will need to wean slowly off the meds b/c the rebound of the med cocktails can be pretty severe.

Sorry to say, but there are no "safe" medications during pregnancy. If you really want another child and cannot go without the stabilizer, then make sure to know the "plan" with your doctors well ahead of time so that you know what to look for and what the warning signs may be. Request that you be titrated to the minimal therapeutic dosage for your body type. Do a quick search b/c there must be some support groups out there for other moms in your situation.



answers from New York on

Are you sure you want to have another child knowing that the meds could be potentially harmful to the fetus? Not only that, pregnancy- as you already know- causes so many different emotions and mood swings. If I was already having issues, I definitely wouldn't consider getting pregnant and taking the risk for more problems in the future. I would consider adopting a baby before putting my own fetus as risk with any medications that haven't been researched for pregnancy.


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