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Can I have a healthy pregnancy if I am being treated for bipolar disorder?

In general, pregnancy, labor and delivery increase the symptoms of bipolar disorder. You are at a higher risk of recurrent episodes and more likely to require hospitalization, and may require changes in medications. But with careful planning, using an ob doc who has a special expertise in this field, and a close watch on your symptoms, you can manage pregnancy as adeptly as a pilot flying through turbulence. Talk to your psychiatrist and OBGYN about the risks before you get pregnant, if possible. Discuss how the pregnancy will affect your mood swings and how your treatment may impact your unborn baby.

In terms of your treatment, for the period of time around your pregnancy, you may need to adjust or change your medications since many of the medications that are used to treat bipolar disorder could harm your baby. Depakote and Tegretol, for instance, may cause birth defects. However, lithium and mood stabilizers such as Haldol and Thorazine pose little risk to your baby. Also, talk to your doctor before pregnancy about other options.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.