Bipolar and pregnant

Hi everyone.

Just wondered if anyone has any advice for me. I'm 26 weeks pregnant and I'm bipolar but not on any medication at the moment due to the pregnancy. Over the last few months my moods have been getting lower and lower. I can't see my psychiatrist until mid Feb, and I feel so alone! I have a great family for support but they don't know what to do/say. I just wondered if anyone has any advice?

12 Replies

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  • Hi,

    Welcome to the forum.

    I don't have any experience of bi-polar, only PP followed by a short bout of depression, many years ago, Is it possible for you to discuss your low moods with your GP so that he / she might be able to contact the Psychiatrist for an earlier appointment than mid Feb? It's very difficult for family and friends, wanting to help but not knowing how.

    There are mums here who will be able to give advice and support, so try not to worry. We are all here to help so you're not alone.

    Take very good care of yourself.

  • I'm on a waiting list for the psychiatrists if there are any cancellations, but I've been told it is very long! I'm not getting the help I need and I know my moods are just getting worse it's horrible!

  • Or phone your local Community Mental Health team. I'm shocked you're doing this with no support.

  • I tried phoning the community mental health team before Xmas but because it was during office hours at my psychiatrist they told me to phone them. I'm being passed around all over the place. It's very frustrating

  • Hi, No wonder you're feeling frustrated and alone. I think you should have an appointment with your GP asap; some GPs make home visits. I know the NHS is stretched but considering you're 26 weeks pregnant, surely the mental health team should treat you as a priority?

    Do you have a number for the Crisis Team just in case? It might be an idea for someone from your family to contact your GP or community health team on your behalf to stress how low you feel. It's very unfair that you should be left without medical support and have to rely on a cancellation to be seen earlier.

    Take care.

  • Hi Muscles88

    It does sound very frustrating that you've done exactly the right thing by reaching out for support from mental health services and you have that feeling of being passed 'from pillar to post'. Have you been under the care of a community mental health team before? I'm asking as they should have a protocol with the GP for patients to receive 'rapid re-referral' into the service if their mental health is deteriorating so it might be worth mentioning this to your GP and seeing if they can pull some strings to get you seen more quickly in the first instance.

    The other thing definitely worth checking out is whether there is a specialist perinatal mental health team in your area - often you can refer yourself to these services or your midwife can. Try Googling, or ask your GP to find out for you. This would be the ideal service as they will have experience of managing medications during pregnancy and will be able to help you draw up a plan for your birth and postnatal period to keep you as well as possible. It's really important for you to feel as well supported as you can during your pregnancy, and I'm sorry this hasn't been the case so far.

    If there is no specialist perinatal mental health team in your area, you can ask your GP or psychiatrist to refer you for a free consultation either in person on on the phone with Dr Ian Jones, Perinatal Psychiatrist at Cardiff University using the details in this link: app-network.org/what-is-pp/...

    Here at APP we have produced two guides for women at risk of postpartum psychosis which will talk you through the decisions you might face, and planning for the rest of your pregnancy. Hope this will provide you with lots more detailed advice. It's definitely worth continuing to press for a consultation with your psychiatrist or specialist perinatal mental health service as soon as you can though, as a chance to talk things through face to face is so important and will hopefully give you a good plan for a way forward, and lots of reassurance.

    Here are the guides we've written for women during pregnancy

    app-network.org/wp-content/...

    app-network.org/wp-content/...

    In the meantime, we're all here to offer you support as you monitor your mood and continue thinking about the support you need for the rest of your pregnancy. Keep posting any questions you'd like us to answer, or just post if you need some virtual friends to lean on. Like me, lots of mums on the forum have experienced being pregnant after a first episode of PP and we also have mums on the forum who have successfully navigated having bipolar disorder and being pregnant, so we do understand what a stressful time it can be, but we also know that with the right care you can make it through.

    Warm wishes

    Naomi

  • Hi Naomi

    No I haven't been under the community mental health care.

    I'm on a waiting list for a perinatal nurse. Which will take a while. I will be visiting my GP tomorrow to see if there's anything else I can do. Also through work I have access to a helpline which is available 24/7 but at times I don't know what to say to them. To try and tell someone your down and you don't know why is very hard as you can imagine.

    Thank you for your support its nice to know that I'm not alone

  • Hi there

    I'm sorry to hear there is a waiting list for the perinatal nurse. If you have a phone number for the service you could call and mention that your mood has got worse.

    If no luck lots of mums here have used the free second opinion service and rate it really highly. You can mention it to your GP as Ian Jones is very experienced with bipolar disorder and pregnancy and will be able to advise you on meds and pregnancy as this may be an option help stabilise your mood. Here's the link again which you can show to your GP

    app-network.org/what-is-pp/...

    Good luck with the GP I hope it's a really helpful conversation. We are here for you for as long as you need xx

    Naomi

  • Hi, this sounds like a really frustrating situation for you, I hope some of the advice posted so far has been helpful.

    Although I don't have bipolar, I had PP "out of the blue" 5 years ago. So when I became pregnant with my 2nd child in 2013, I was keen to have some mental health input although I'd been discharged from the consultant and community team. I can't tell you how frustrating it was, as I also had to wait and didn't see a psychiatrist until really close to giving birth and got allocated a social worker too shortly before. Although the worker had never heard of PP (!!) he did advocate for me to everyone else involved, the hospital etc, and really pulled it all together. Things turned out well for me and I didn't become ill again, and I think having all the professionals on board helped with this. I only got this through badgering my GP though, and I'd encourage you to do this. It's sometimes easier said than done, but worked for me.

    I'd also really recommend the 2nd opinion service with Dr Ian Jones that Naomi mentions. I had a consultation with him with about the same stage of pregnancy as you (and really struggling to get the local people to engage). He was really knowledgeable, supportive, and listened to me and my partner really well, then pulled everything together and wrote to my GP and midwives team. This made them "sit up and take notice" I believe, and also helped me get the local psych on board, and the social worker too. You need someone to fight your corner, so to speak, and in my experience, having the 2nd opinion consultation (when I was struggling to even get a 1st opinion!) really gave others a kick! I hope they don't mind it being described like this! But I can't speak highly enough of it. I have no perinatal service locally so it was invaluable to me.

    Keep talking to your family and friends and try not to panic about things. It will get there and you just have to ride this out and keep pushing for more input. If you don't feel comfortable being pushy with your GP is there someone who will do this for you? I firmly believe that constantly nagging them can only help. Good luck with it all, we're all here for you if you need to chat. Take care, xx

  • Hi Muscles

    Wondering how things are going for you? Have you had any more appointments yet? We are here whenever you need a listening ear - even if you just need a rant!

    Thinking of you

    Naomi xx

  • Hello Muscles 88

    How are you coping now?

    Lots of good links and advice here .......did you manage to access any support for yourself via your G.P?

    Take good care.

  • Hello Muscles 88

    Just wondering how you are. Hope all's well.

    Take good care of yourself. We are all here for you.