• Share. Be Supported. Recover.

    We are a friendly, safe community supporting each other's mental health. We are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Bipolar and pregnancy advice?

N

NSyncope

New member
Joined
Jul 17, 2021
Messages
3
Location
Colorado
Hi all. This is my first time on this forum, so hopefully I'm in the right place!

I'm a 30 yr old female who was diagnosed with Bipolar 1 when I was 19, characterized by mixed episodes and rapid cycling. I've been on Lamictal for 11 years now, and have had great results--I haven't had any kind of major episode for about 6 years. I do periodically take Geodon to manage acute episodes, but I haven't needed this in years. When I was actively experiencing depressive/manic/mixed episodes they were were extremely debilitating and the mixed episodes in particular included severe suicidal thoughts/two suicide attempts.

My husband and I recently started trying for a baby, and I am honestly extremely nervous about being pregnant and the post-partum period. My episodes seem to correlate fairly well with major life events, so I'm definitely worried that pregnancy and having to care for a baby (along with hormonal changes) will trigger an episode of some kind. As I mentioned above, my episodes were often very difficult; so, I would like to mitigate them as much as possible. I am stable in my personal life and my career, and am scared that having a baby will de-rail everything.

I work in the medical field (although as a vet so not much psychiatry in my practice at least lol), so I am definitely working closely with my OB/GYN and Psychiatrist to manage my medication and any fetal health issues; however, I would love to hear about other people's experiences with pregnancy while dealing with Bipolar Disorder. My doctors are very informative and supportive, but throughout my time in inpatient/outpatient settings, I've always found other people with Bipolar Disorder to be the best resources--since you've actually gone through what I'm going through and didn't just learn about it.

I am planning on continuing on Lamictal, so it would be great to hear from people who took that medication throughout pregnancy. However, I would love to hear from anyone about what I could possibly expect!

Thanks and apologies for the long post!
--S
 
Zero One

Zero One

Well-known member
Joined
May 19, 2020
Messages
5,254
Location
United States
Hello @NSyncope and welcome. Congratulationd! I.wasn't classified as bipolar when I was pregnant although I am sure I had it at the time. Some advice:

Try to stay away from steps.

Eat healthy.

Take really good care of yourself and do things keep you peaceful and content.

All the best to you and your family 💕
 
K

keith74

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 14, 2020
Messages
578
Location
Canada
Hi S,
Having children is certainly a challenge for people with metal health issues such as bipolar. My wife and I explored this area quite a bit before ultimately deciding against it. Here are a few tips that I feel would be very useful:

-Find a psychiatrist that specializes in prenatal psychiatry. We found an excellent one and her advice was very helpful. She knew about all the risks pregnancy has on mental health (before and after) and which meds should and shouldn't be used when pregnant. For example, my wife's main mood stabilizer (depakote) is a big no-no when pregnant. So they were working on a plan to switch up her meds to something with a much lower risk for the time she would be pregnant.

-Make sure you line up a ton of support to help with the baby after birth. This is super huge. You cannot be that mom that sleeps only 2 hours a day because you have to take care of the baby. You must get your sleep/rest. That means someone else needs to be waking up in the middle of the night when the baby needs to be fed. Ideally you will have lots and lots of family and friends nearby to help you while you get your rest. Also give them a heads up that you will need a lot of help.

-Make sure you stick with your usual therapy session after birth. Bipolar women are at much higher risk to suffer from postpartum depression and psychosis so you need to be prepared for that. Even though you life will be so busy after giving birth, don't put off seeing your therapist/psychiatrist consistently after birth. Your spouse may also want to seek therapy as this can be a challenging time for them also.

Having the above three is ideal. Obviously we don't live in an ideal world so you may not be able to have all three at your disposal. Many still make it through without all three. But I do know that if you do have all three set up, your pregnancy (pre and post) will be much much smoother.

Good luck!
 
N

NSyncope

New member
Joined
Jul 17, 2021
Messages
3
Location
Colorado
Thank you everyone for being so welcoming and encouraging! I really appreciate the advice and support--especially regarding the prenatal psychiatrist since I never even considered looking for someone with that specialty.

I also really like the idea of finding a therapist specifically for my husband during the pre/post partum period (and beyond if he wants!). We have been together through some of my more serious episodes, so he has an idea of what could happen, and we've attended therapy sessions together in the past. But I will definitely be talking to him about finding someone for just him to talk to, since I want to make sure he feels supported during this time as well.

Again, thanks so much for taking the time to read and respond!
 
K

keith74

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 14, 2020
Messages
578
Location
Canada
It sounds like you are doing everything you can to be prepared and that is great! I know it will be a lot of prep work but I believe it will really pay off to be over-prepared.

I should clarify my recommendation regarding a prenatal psychiatrist. My wife actually found a psychiatrist who specialized in perinatal mental health specifically for people with a pre-existing mental health illness. I'm not sure how easy it is to find such specialists but we were lucky to have a hospital nearby with a good perinatal mental health program.
 
Similar threads
Thread starter Title Forum Replies Date
A Pregnancy and Bipolar.. Bipolar Forum 1
M Bipolar and pregnancy Bipolar Forum 3
R Pregnancy and Bipolar? Bipolar Forum 6
F Bipolar disorder, affective psychosis, and schizophrenia in pregnancy and the post-partum period Bipolar Forum 1
V Bipolar, pregnancy and self harm... Bipolar Forum 7
H Antidepressants or TMS for bipolar Bipolar Forum 3
M Deal with the alcohol problem or bipolar first? Bipolar Forum 6
T Low Vitamin B12 and D in Bipolar Bipolar Forum 7
Keesha Those with Bipolar Disorder, 3 X’s More Likely to Develop Diabetes Bipolar Forum 12
M Help w a bipolar 19 yr old. Bipolar Forum 15
Wishbone UK Bipolar Support Groups Bipolar Forum 4
B Diagnosed bipolar but.... Bipolar Forum 7
C Bipolar Bipolar Forum 6
B Severe bipolar Bipolar Forum 18
R Bipolar and pregnant.... Work life anxiety?? Bipolar Forum 10
P Sleep and Bipolar Bipolar Forum 12
B Opioid use and bipolar? Bipolar Forum 10
S Bipolar, alcohol and pot Bipolar Forum 27
H co-occurring bipolar & adhd: what meds/lifestyle/habits work for you? Bipolar Forum 12
S How long in a new relationship do I tell her I am bipolar Bipolar Forum 10
S Children of Bipolar Bipolar Forum 21
D Cyclothymia into bipolar Bipolar Forum 9
E Bipolar spouse never rests Bipolar Forum 18
J Being a better friend to my bipolar friends Bipolar Forum 2
M Any good book/literature that talks about Bipolar syndrome ? Bipolar Forum 13
T I've found the cure for Bipolar Bipolar Forum 8
T Antidepressants and Bipolar 1 & 2 Bipolar Forum 13
Talula67 Recommended reading re- Recent Bipolar diagnosis please. Bipolar Forum 9
C Hi everyone my name is ... and I have bipolar disorder. Intro Bipolar Forum 6
G My nephew, Bipolar Bipolar Forum 60
M Sleep disorder tied to Bipolar 2? Help Bipolar Forum 59
H Supporting possible bipolar partner Bipolar Forum 18
I Bipolar II Diagnosis Uncertainty/Confusion/Concern Bipolar Forum 36
C PTSD or BIPOLAR ? Bipolar Forum 4
C Anyone on the Autism spectrum and have Bipolar and how do the 2 interact for you? Bipolar Forum 2
M Jobs For Bipolar Bipolar Forum 20
B Bipolar Analogy - What do you think? Bipolar Forum 10
P Does "mood disorder" mean bipolar? Bipolar Forum 19
F Would love some help/advice understanding my first experience with someone who has bipolar - Bipolar Forum 21
T Natural ways to deal with bipolar depression and anxiety Bipolar Forum 13
P Is this bipolar? Bipolar Forum 20
R Bipolar - lamotrogine Bipolar Forum 6
E when did you start to realise that you have bipolar? Bipolar Forum 17
J I am looking for answers for my Bipolar II symptoms. Bipolar Forum 7
T My Cousin has bipolar disorder and is a life threat to his parents Bipolar Forum 3
A Can i have BPD and Bipolar? Bipolar Forum 3
BONE My Bipolar...My ADHD... Bipolar Forum 5
M Stress and Bipolar Disorder Bipolar Forum 19
L Son with bipolar Bipolar Forum 9
A BIPOLAR FACTS REASONS AND TREATMENT Bipolar Forum 18

Similar threads

Top