Unique perspective of a women with Bipolar Disorder and a Master's degree in psychology. Posts include summaries of current research, essays on experiencing and managing bipolar disorder and data on mood over time, in relation to medication compliance and other aspects of health.
How should a woman manage bipolar disorder while pregnant?
Every woman is different, and should work closely with her OBGyn and psychiatrist, during and after pregnancy. Together you and your doctors can determine how your disorder should best be managed.
So I am writing about my pregnancies, not as advice for how you should manage your disorder during pregnancy, but in the interest of sharing experiences and information that could be potentially helpful to someone.
First Pregnancy (30 yo): I didn't know that I was bipolar at that time, although I had been treated in the past for depression. I do not recall which medications I was on, if any (other than prenatal vitamins), during my first pregnancy. I also don't recall if I felt any postpartum depression. I was going through a divorce, while my first child, a daughter, was a newborn. Then she was hospitalized at two months for a mysterious health problem that almost killed her, but from which she fully recovered. I think that I was just kind of stunned that whole first year.
My Second Pregnancy (37 yo): By my second pregnancy, I knew that I was bipolar and it was being managed with medication (Depakote for bipolar, Wellbutrin for depression, and maybe more, don't recall). But, my OBGyn and I decided that I would to go off meds for the duration of my pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Probably should have gone back on meds right after delivering. After three months of breast feeding, I really bottomed out, and for the first and only time in my life, went in for day hospitalization. The hospitalization was mainly helpful in that it got me in front of a doctor who prescribed Seroquel for me for the first time. It was a miracle drug for what a huge difference it made in my mental health. The hospitalization also gave me a chance to have my first group therapy with other bipolar patients. Very educational. Even at my worst, there were people way sicker than I was.
Third Pregnancy (39yo):
With my third, last pregnancy, I stayed on meds the whole time, and didn't breastfeed, because I didn't ever want to get as sick as I did after my second pregnancy. I was disappointed about not breastfeeding, but felt that I would be a much better mother by taking my meds and keeping my mental health, and that my baby, like many babies, would do fine on formula.
This blog is for informational purposes only, it is not intended to be used for the treatment of mental illness. If you are having emotional troubles, please see a human mental health care professional, not a computer.