Sunday, February 28, 2010

Pregnancy and Medications

I get a lot of email asking if and how much medication I was taking during the pregnancy and if I felt it affected my daughter. So I wanted to post about this important topic.

First, I want to start out by saying I believe that every bipolar woman has to make the choice for themselves whether to take psychiatric medication during pregnancy. I primarily hear three things:
1. The mom-to-be doesn't want to take any medication
2. The OB/GYN or psychiatrist has told them to get off all medication during the pregnancy.
3. The mom-to-be doesn't think she could last the whole pregnancy without medication.

This is a very personal issue and decision that should be made with lots of planning.

Here's my story. I have bipolar I disorder with psychosis (which means I have been through psychosis in the past not that I am currently with it). I firmly believe that medication keeps me well (or at least helps me stay better). Given the severity of my past episodes I didn't think it was wise to stay off all medication during the pregnancy. I have been criticized by a few women for this choice, but my gut and instincts said for me it was the right decision. I did however not want to be on medication during my first trimester which is the riskist time for birth defects. I planned for about 8-12 months before getting pregnant to lower my medications so that I would not abruptly stop them when I became pregnant.

I was all psychiatric medications during my first trimester. The only drug I took was Zofran for my hyperemesis (excessive vomitting). When I reached my second trimester I went back on Lamictal and remained on it to this day. I did not think that I would stay well during my pregnancy without the medication -- I didn't want to risk a relapse.

I don't think that my daughter has had any problems from the medication I was on during the pregnancy or breastfeeding. In fact she is ahead of the curve on pretty much everything. She's amazing.

I'll write more soon ...
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