Planning a pregnancy at 40 with Bipolar 2

Hi everyone,

Is there anyone out there who has planned a pregnancy without being on meds? I've come off valproate (depakote) 4 months ago and am taking nortryptiline 75 mg and olanzapine 2.5 mg, following advice of my psychiatrist. Thankfully, I feel well. Has anyone been referred to a peri natal clinic prior to getting pregnant ? I've asked my gp for a referral to get more info. I know time is running out for us, and I'm really scared about harming the baby should I fall pregnant.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you x

4 Replies

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  • Dear Serena32

    Sorry it's taken me a couple of days to reply.

    It's great that you've found us, and are looking for information. I don't have personal experience of planning a pregnancy when on medication, but I can definitely signpost you in the right direction of lots of information and support out there which will hopefully help you make good decisions during your pregnancy, and will help you to stay well.

    First of all we have a guide for planning a pregnancy if you are at risk of PP, and all information is in there, this should answer most of your questions and concerns. It is free to download from our website: app-network.org/what-is-pp/...

    I suggest you give a copy to your mental health team, if they are not a perinatal mental health team.

    Ideally you should ask to be referred to a perinatal mental health team (even if you're not pregnant yet) if there is one in your area - they are specialised in perinatal mental health, and a perinatal psychiatrist will know about your particular risks, and the medication that is safe to take in pregnancy, though it sounds like your current psychiatrist has already started this process with taking you off certain medication already? Is your psychiatrist specialised in perinatal mental health, or has s/he got advice from a perinatal psychiatrist? I would say it's really important you get advice from a psychiatrist specialised in treating women during the perinatal period.

    If there is a perinatal mental health team in your area then you should be able to be referred to them. If not, and you live in the UK, you can ask to be referred to the second opinion psychiatry service, and have a consultation with Dr Ian Jones, who is specialised in bipolar and PP, and can advise your mental health team of how to support you, and help you put together a care plan for the pregnancy and birth with you. The service is free for you and your local health authority. You need to be referred by your mental health team, or GP. The link is here: app-network.org/what-is-pp/...

    I also wanted to let you know about two good websites. One, Bumps, gives you information on any medication and whether it is safe to take in pregnancy: medicinesinpregnancy.org/

    The second website gives you information about different mental health medications the side effects, and whether it is safe to take in pregnancy: choiceandmedication.org/ncmh/

    On both sites you can search for particular medication - I've found the information is very similar and information is accurate and balanced.

    I really hope all this information is helpful, and that you'll also receive some support on here from other women who have 'been there' and had children while at risk of PP.

    Take care, and I wish you all the best in planning your pregnancy

    Ellie

  • Hi Ellie,

    Thank you so much for your reply. I will go back to my Gp and ask for a referral.

    It's been so difficult to find any information about being on meds while pregnant. Thank you for all the invaluable information you've provided.

    Much appreciated!

    Xxx

  • Ah it's a pleasure, it's so good to have some clear signposting and answers for someone! I hope you manage to get the support and information you need...

    Take care

    Ellie

  • Hi ive been medicine free for two pregnancies and fine so far. But i wasnt on meds to start with. First pregnancy no perinatal. Second ive requested perinatal support. Was under care of gp whole way for both.

    Psychiatrists can give info re being on meds while pregnant...theres heaps of options out there which are safe (my sister who works in a pharmaceutical company has looked into this independently for me).

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