Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Sleep Tips for Pregnancy

Perhaps it is becuase I can't sleep I keep finding tips on how to sleep better during pregnancy. This article in the Cincinnati Post is specfically about sleep problems in bipolar pregnant women.

See the Article:
Natural Aids to sleep during pregnancy

Update: When I was at the OB/GYN yesterday he said that most likely the Ambien wasn't going to help (he was right I tried it and it put me to sleep but I still woke up two hours later to pee except then I had a hard time walking to the bathroom because my limbs weren't cooperating!). He said since my sleep problems are mostly related to physical discomfort there is only one solution -- have the baby. Then he joked that I would then have another reason for not sleeping.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

News: House passes bill on post-partum depression

Congress is taking steps to help women suffering from post-partum depression.

Chicago Congressman Bobby Rush has sponsored a new bill to provide screening and treatment for women who suffer severe depression after giving birth to a child.
The bill is named in memory of Melanie Blocker Stokes of Chicago, who committed suicide while suffering from the mental illness.

She left behind a daughter, Summer, now 6, and a husband.

Her family is celebrating the bill's passage in the House and is hoping it will soon pass the Senate.

Currently, less than 15 percent of new mothers receive treatment for the illness, which is the most frequent serious complication of pregnancy.

I wish I could SLEEP

For the last week and a half I have had horrible sleep. At a maximum I can sleep for 3 hours straight and then I wake up uncomfortable, or I have to go pee, or I have stabbing pain in my ribs. Once I wake up I can't go back to sleep for a while. Luckily I've been able to string some naps together to get 4-6 hours per day.

I was at first worried becuase lack of sleep has in the past triggered manic episodes. The good thing is I don't feel energized - I feel tired so I know I'm not getting to have a problem yet.

I have 60 days till my due date. I sure hope that this doesn't last the whole time.

I do have a prescription for Ambien that my psychiatrist wrote. The nurse at my OB/GYN said it was safe to take, but I still feel hesitant. I've got an appointment with my OB/GYN this after so I'll discuss what any risks are with taking sleeping pills.

It's funny how I was prepared to deal with emotional issues during pregnancy -- I was not prepared for all the physical discomfort.

It's ironic that today USA TODAY ran an article "Lack of sleep sends emotions off the deep end"

Click here to read the article

Sunday, October 21, 2007

New Book on Pregnancy and Bipolar

I just found this book which was published in August 2007 -- Bipolar and Pregnant: How to Manage and Succeed in Planning and Parenting While Living with Manic Depression

I wish I would have found it sooner. I'm anxiously awaiting its arrival it should be here next week.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Study: Mental problems in teens hard to diagnosis

I've recently heard a lot more about the difficulty doctors have in diagnosing teens with bipolar. I'm glad that they are finally talking about the issue. It took almost 10 years (I started seeing a psychiatrist when I was 14), two hospitalizations, and several sucide attempts before I was properly diagnosed. The signs were there -- the doctors I was seeing just never put two and two together until I finally had a true psychotic break in 2003. I wonder if I had been diagnosed and treated properly earlier if I ever would have become psychotic. Needless to say psychosis was extermely devasting to my life at the time. It took months for me to get back on track. Actually maybe as long as a year.

Here's the Article:
Study: Mental problems in teens hard to diagnosis

HOUSTON, Oct. 20 (UPI) -- Pinpointing a diagnosis of psychiatric and behavioral problems in teens can be tricky, even for experts in mental health, a U.S. expert says.

Dr. Norma Clarke, medical director of the Adolescent Treatment Program at The Menninger Clinic in Houston, says the human brain is still developing during adolescence and mood and behavior can fluctuate wildly at this age.

"Teens are by nature secretive and it is sometimes very hard to figure out what is normal and what is not about teen behavior," Clarke said in a statement. "Also, teens can behave very well in a psychologist’s or counselor’s office, which makes it harder to arrive at a diagnosis."

By adolescence, many teens in treatment for behavioral or psychiatric issues have received multiple diagnoses -- ranging from attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder to bipolar disorder.

When individuals don’t respond to treatment, they can feel like failures, Clarke says.

"They feel that they are broken for life," Clarke says. "They feel hopeless and think there is something so wrong with them. It affects their self-esteem and their ability to make friends and become the best they can be."


So I haven't posted in a long time. I intended to regularly track my pregnancy through this blog -- but that didn't happen. Now I'm going to go back and fill in the details of my pregnancy. Currently I am 31 weeks ... just 9 weeks to go.

When I was at 8 weeks I was diagnosed with hyperemesis gravidarum (excessive nausea and vomitting). Around week 6-7 I started feeling some morning sickness which quickly progressed into severe nausea and then frequent vommitting. By the time I went to the doctor during week 8 I was throwing up 12 times a day and was dehydrated. I had ketones in my urine and had lost 5 pounds in a week.

Prior to going to the dr. I had tried all the suggestions for morning sickness -- I ate crackers before getting out of bed, I drank ginger ale, I ate crackers before getting out of bed, I tried sea bands, I tried vitamin b6 -- none of it helped.

My doctor prescribed zofran which is used for chemotherapy patients and it has been a miracle. Although I was still having some nausea the vomitting became only once a day which was manageable.

Hyperemesis (HG) has been extremely hard. I had a lot of sensitivity to food and smells and for a while even with the zofran could eat very few foods.

My HG did get somewhat better during the second half of the second trimester -- however now that I am in my third trimester it has returned.

My mother never told me until after I was pregnant that she too had a problem with nausea and vomitting when she was pregnant with me. In fact she was on nausea medicine throughout her whole pregnancy.

There is little research on what causes HG -- however it is thought to have a genetic component. I also wonder if being bipolar contributes to the likelihood of getting HG.

There is a great organization I found called the HER Foundation (Hyperemesis Education & Research). Visit there website at

Oprah had a special on HG that was really enlightening as well it aired a few months ago.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Study: Severe Mental Illness In Mothers Can Affect Long-Term Health And Development Of Children

It's not surprising that a mother's mental health affects her children. The research shows that the important issue is the interaction the mother has with her children.

Although this could be seen as un-positive news. I actually think the real message here is that it is so important to keep yourself healthy and stable.

Here's the article:
Severe Mental Illness In Mothers Can Affect Long-Term Health And Development Of Children
Babies' early experiences with a mother suffering from severe mental illness, such as schizophrenia, other psychotic disorders, bipolar disorder or severe major depression disorder may affect their future health and development.

Dr. Susan Pawlby, of the Institute of Psychiatry in London, emphasises that complex issues surround the study of the impact of a mother's severe mental illness on her child. Among them are genetic risks, poor health practices, psychiatric medication, breast-feeding, and the physical and emotional care of the baby.

Infants are entirely dependent for their health and well-being on those who care for them, and those whose mothers suffer from mental illness are at risk if the care provided does not meet their developmental needs. In such instances, she warns, the long-term implications for the child are potentially devastating.

Click here for full article

Friday, October 5, 2007

Oprah runs two shows on bipolar disorder

Oprah recently ran two shows on bipolar disorder. One featured Sinead O'Connor on October 5 (see show details here) and then other featured various people with bipolar disorder including General Hospital star Maurice Benard (see show details)

The first show also featured a woman who said her bipolar disorder caused her to kill her child. Being that I'm pregnant now the story was distrubing to me.