Thinking about a 2nd baby has anyone ... - Action on Postpar...

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Thinking about a 2nd baby has anyone got any advice on taking Lithium during pregnancy?

Nicolaba
Nicolaba

Hi, I suffered PP in October 2016 and had a subsequent Manic Episode in March this year. My psychiatrist has advised that given the severity of my Bi polar history I should stay on medication long term. I hadn’t imagined that would be the case and originally thought I would wait to try for a 2nd baby once I had come off of the medication. Has anyone taken Lithium during Pregnancy that could share their experiences? I am also taking sertraline but as far as I know that doesn’t have the same risks to the baby. Any advice welcome.

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Lilybeth
LilybethVolunteer

Hello Nicolaba

Thanks for your post and sharing your experience. I'm sorry to hear you had PP in 2016 and a manic episode in March this year. It must have been a lot for you to go through at the time.

As you have written supportive replies on the forum, you might already have noticed that I had PP twice many years ago. Lithium wasn't one of the medication I took so I'm sorry I haven't any experience to share. I wonder if the bumps site (best use of medicines in pregnancy) might be helpful at medicinesinpregnancy.org/. Under A-Z of leaflets you will find Lithium.

Take good care of yourself .... you are very wise to weigh up your options and be guided by your psychiatrist.

Hannah_at_APP
Hannah_at_APPAdministrator

Hi Nicolaba, another baby after PP is a very personal choice and it's positive that you are thinking ahead - I think planning is really key. I had a further child, 4 years after PP with my first, and whilst I took Lithium as part of my treatment and recovery (for 3 years) I was off all meds by the time I was pregnant again.

Do you have a perinatal mental health team that can support you? Perhaps you could ask your psychiatrist to consider referring you, as they may offer pre-conception counselling too and can advise from a specialist point about mental health and pregnancy.

I also wanted to share the APP Insider Guides, including Planning Pregnancy, which you might find useful. app-network.org/wp-content/...

All the best and I hope you get good support in making your decision. Take care, xx

Hello Nicolaba, I also have bipolar and stayed on lithium throughout pregnancy. I had a very positive experience of this. Given my history and the high risk of me becoming well it made complete sense to continue taking lithium, the tiny % increase of any risk to the baby was very small given the much larger risk (70+%) of becoming unwell. I also realised that just by being pregnant you are open to all different types of risks anyway. I was monitored closely by my Perinatel Psychiatrist and team to ensure that my lithium levels stayed within the therapeutic range. This is because as your body changes in pregnancy they need to adjust your dosage. They also organised an extra scan at 20 weeks which was to check the babies heart as this was the area most at risk although very small % increase. Their guidance was so helpful. I stayed well throughout the whole pregnancy. I did become unwell with PP once baby arrived on baby blue day and in hindsight should of started the olanzopine a bit earlier too. However staying on lithium enabled me to enjoy a very stable pregnancy. Hope this helps.

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