I'm going to have an assessment by my local mental health team tomorrow and I'm very anxious and nervous. I've got bipolar and a history of 3 psychotic episodes. Only one of them was serious with me being sectioned and in hospital for 3 months. The other times were not as serious but still impacted on my normal life. My previous care team discharged me Dec last year only because I had been under them for the maximum amount of time as they only help people for 3-4 years. I'm 10 weeks pregnant and need to be monitored by a mother and baby mental health team however for that to happen I first have to be under the care of a mental health team which at the moment I'm not. This is why I'm having the assessment done tomorrow. I'm really scared of being turned away even though in my head I know that I have a need to be under the care of the team but at the same time I can't stop thinking about the worrse case scenario which is that they will send me away back under the care of my gp. I guess I'm worried about what to say in case it might seem like I don't actually need to be with a M.H. team as I think I have a tendency to appear to be coping well even when the truth is that I'm not. Nobody knew when I had pnd because I put on a brave face and soldiered on. If anyone has any advice for me about how to approach this assessment I'd be interested to hear from them.
Assessment by mental health team? - Action on Postpar...
Dear smiles 1975
You are absolutely right that you should be under the care of an MH team ; all the guidelines say that you should be cared for by a specialist perinatal psychiatrist but unfortunately it is a postcode lottery as to whether you see one or not.
Hopefully you live somewhere where that will happen and you will be immediately referred but if not, we can definitely argue your case. There is a lot of information on this on the Bipolar UK website: go to bipolaruk.org.uk/frequently... and look at the sections on 'Women and Bipolar' - under the heading 'What sort of Medical help can I expect?' there are links to the NICE and RCOG guidelines which both state that you should see a perinatal psychiatrist and have your pregnancy monitored. It is also very important to prepare for after the birth as there is a greater chance of a postpartum episode (see the Bipolar and Pregnancy leaflet). It is good to make a birth plan and have a think about what you want to do re meds and breastfeeding etc. before you get that far. There's also an article with non-medical tips for staying well afterwards on there under 'If I want to have a baby what do I need to know?'
Try not to worry - all the women with bipolar that I've known who've taken precautions to stay well have been fine - and if you're happy that you have contingency plans in place just in case, it makes you feel a lot less anxious.
I hope your team will come up trumps and support you properly - if not contact me Clare Dolman via email@example.com and I will try to help.