Bipolar Disorder and Pregnancy

Having a child raises questions in the minds of many women diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Difficulties that may be experienced during pregnancy, genetic transmission of bipolar disorder to the child, and problems that may occur while raising the child are some of the concerns of expectant mothers. First of all, it should be said that if you want to be a mother and raise a child and you feel emotionally ready for it, there is no reason not to do it.

Children who have one parent with bipolar disorder have a 9% chance of being diagnosed with bipolar disorder in their lifetime. This rate is not considered high enough to affect your idea of ​​having children. For example, a parent with Huntington’s disease has a 50% genetic risk of transmitting the disease to their child. This high rate and the risk of premature death from this disease cause many Huntington’s patients to choose not to have children.

In bipolar disorder, the picture is quite different. Even if your child develops this disease, it may remain mild or not develop at all, due to a genetic predisposition. Also, when your child is an adult, more effective treatments may have been found.

Pregnancy Considerations

  1. Don’t get caught up in the idea that being pregnant will protect you from episodes of mania and depression. In fact, pregnancy is a high-risk period for episodes to recur. A study conducted at Harvard Medical School found that 71% of pregnant women with bipolar disorder relapsed during pregnancy. This is usually seen as a depressive or mixed episode in the first trimester of pregnancy. This risk is twice as high in women who do not use drugs during pregnancy compared to those who use it.

  2. Many psychiatric medications pose some level of risk to the developing baby, but not taking medication can also be a risk. Untreated bipolar disorder carries a serious risk for pregnancy. For example; Behaviors such as excessive alcohol or cigarette consumption, risky driving, deterioration and inadequate nutrition and sleep patterns, and neglecting the doctor’s controls during pregnancy can harm the health of the baby. Be sure to follow your psychiatrist’s recommendations about continuing to use medication during pregnancy. Do not delay your checks.

  3. Be aware of alternative treatments. Various herbal supplements and vitamins can help you control your mood. Physical exercise, swimming, and meditation will help you balance. You can also prepare for pregnancy and birth by getting support from birth psychologists. Take care of your health. During pregnancy, you should avoid alcohol and cigarettes, eat healthy, avoid excessive coffee use and make sure you drink enough water. Get your regular sleep.

  4. Your spouse’s support is very important during this period. Share your feelings with your partner and communicate openly. Apart from your spouse, getting support from your family and social circle is also very helpful in coping with the difficulties you face during pregnancy.

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