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Bipolar disorder and pregnancy

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Bipolar disorder and pregnancy

Postby keenie » Sat Jun 09, 2012 5:45 pm

Hi all!

I'm a newbie on here- have posted a few more details in the 'your story' section. Basically I have Bipolar 1 and have been hospitalised quite a few times for it. I recently came out of hospital after a 3-month stint. However, in between I function well and hold down quite a stressful full time job as well as enjoying a good social life etc.

I am getting married next year, and both my partner and myself would like to have children in a few years. However, over my last hospitalisation some people (family, friends, and the odd health professional) have questioned this decision, as my doc says that it is very likely that I will become ill either coming off my meds so that I can get pregnant, during my pregnancy, or after giving birth. There is a chance that it would be safe to get pregnant on a lower dose of my medication, but I would not want to do this as there is no research to suggest whether it is safe for the baby or not. I understand that people are concerned about me getting ill, as my symptoms are severe (I have had about 10 hospitalisations and have been sectioned for most of those), but I can't imagine not having children and I feel quite hurt by the suggestion that I shouldn't.

I suppose there are a few issues- staying well whilst pregnant, coping with being a parent, worrying about whether my children could develop mental health problems like mine- but the main concern from other people's perspectives is the first issue- staying well whilst getting pregnant, being pregnant, and after the birth.

So I'm wondering whether other people have been warned not to, and how people with bipolar have managed these issues whilst having children? Any contributions would be really helpful!

Thanks,
Keenie
DX: Bipolar Type 1 with psychotic features
Meds: Quetiapine 800mg, Fluoxetine 60mg, Depakote 1500mg, Zopiclone 7.5mg, Diazepam as required.

"Stop the world....I want to get on"
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Re: Bipolar disorder and pregnancy

Postby haskettedu » Sat Jun 09, 2012 11:04 pm

Hey there Keenie!

I actually received my bipolar diagnosis when my son was 3 1/2. I had a horrible pregnancy and I would get so angry when I saw pregnant women just falling all over themselves to talk about how WONDERFUL their pregnancy was and how EXCITED they were to have a child. Then I felt like a monster because I just wished I WASN'T pregnant the whole time.

I had my son and I just absolutely crashed. I hated every second of my life. I couldn't feel any love or excitement towards him and I just hated being left alone with him. I never hurt him, thank goodness I never had the urges to, but I would just stare at him and wonder how I was going to do this for so many more years. I had suicidal thoughts daily. I wanted to leave the baby with my husband and my family and just get in the car and drive away forever. I went to the doctor and he told me I was "textbook postpartum", put me on Effexor XR and let me go. The meds did nothing. No other anti-depressant did anything either.

The suicidal tendencies got worse, even as he grew older. This year I went back to the doctor, she listened to me for like...TEN minutes, then asked me if I had ever been diagnosed as bipolar. I am finally on meds that are helping. I can play with my son and laugh with him, MOST of the time, and I feel stable a good portion of the time. But my doctor told me there is a 30% chance he will end up with the same. That terrifies me. Me PERSONALLY, I would not have a kid if I could go back and do it all again. My in-laws bug me about not having any more kids, but I have put my foot down. If my son DOES end up bipolar, I can concentrate on him and his mental health as much as possible. I am not sure if I could do that if I had multiple children.

This is just me though. Everyone has a different view on it. I know it is a hard decision, so I wish you and your husband all the luck in the world making a choice. :D
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Re: Bipolar disorder and pregnancy

Postby CrackedGirl » Sun Jun 10, 2012 6:37 am

I am also very keen on having kids and want to have them somehow if I can but I have had to think about the fact that I would likely get very ill trying to come off meds, whilst pregnant or post partum. I know I would have intensive input during this but it is a big risk. I think it is one where you are going to have to think very carefully and talk to your other half a lot. Whatever you decide I hope it goes well for you

Hugs

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Re: Bipolar disorder and pregnancy

Postby keenie » Mon Jun 11, 2012 8:59 am

Thanks guys, that's certainly given me something to think about. The problem is, if I decided not to have children then it wouldn't make sense for me to marry my fiance next year, as he desperately wants children. I can't see the relationship working if one of us wants children and the other doesn't, and it wouldn't be fair on him. I do want children, I'm just so worried about the effect of having children on my bipolar. He is aware that I have my concerns about it and he keeps asking me if I still want children or if I would ever change my mind, which is kind of putting pressure on me a bit. Just trying to get my head around it. Thanks for your help, K.
DX: Bipolar Type 1 with psychotic features
Meds: Quetiapine 800mg, Fluoxetine 60mg, Depakote 1500mg, Zopiclone 7.5mg, Diazepam as required.

"Stop the world....I want to get on"
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Re: Bipolar disorder and pregnancy

Postby CrackedGirl » Mon Jun 11, 2012 7:31 pm

Wow that sounds like a lot of pressure for you. Do you think he could come with you to an appt to discuss it so both of you can weigh up the pros and cons.

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Re: Bipolar disorder and pregnancy

Postby babygirl 86 » Wed Jul 18, 2012 3:51 am

As you all no don't stress u don't want to make your self worse. I am 26 married and been bipolar since 18 19 that's when symptoms started. But was actually diagnosed 3 years ago. And at same time started trylling medication. I was unsure to about how being pregnant would affect me. Both options on meds if it would effect baby and off how I would behave. But I spoke with my psychiatrist that we want to start trying for a baby what do I do. Do u ween me of my meds or do I stay on them at the same dose. He said its fine to stay on them I prefer u to but up to u. And I didn't want to wait months by the time I was weened of them. So I stayed on my meds. He said it won't effect baby cos it dose all it's development in the fist 3 months. And your body is use to your dosage. And I have to say I'm 19 weeks pregnant on medication 100mg Zoloft a day, 500mg epilim every morrning and night, 200mg tegretol every morrning and night, 5mg Valium when needed, and 20mg nexium. And my bloods show that my meds r the right levels in my system. And I've been on those levels before being pregnant. And I have to say I was balanced before and I'm balanced now so far and I'm fine and baby so far and happy with how things are going. The only thing is I was already a zombie before being pregnant but I fight it I have days I need rest and have lazy day and days I go out. It's just that now im pregnant I'm more tied but I just fight it. I have been very sick through my pregnancy vomiting every day and through the day witch u have to take in to comcidetation because u may fine u vomit up your medication and u may have to Chang the time u take it that was my only down fall but as u will I did I worked it out. And yes u still have days were your depressed as before but if u fine it worse tell your specialist it may ne hormones or your bipolar so u can work with it. I hope I've help a little on it being positive for u. Good luck.
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Re: Bipolar disorder and pregnancy

Postby Olive785 » Sun Aug 05, 2012 6:22 pm

I had my daughter in oct 2010. At the time i was diagnosed with major depression and gad. I stopped taking my lamictal and continued my 20mg citalopram. Being pregnant was the best time of my life. I felt happier and more alive than I had ever felt and there was so much opportunity ahead of me. I weaned off the citalopram at the beginning of the ninth month so she would have withdrawals inside me and it would be easier on her. The day i had her they put me on zoloft because they said it was better for breastfeeding. From the very first night I had troue sleeping, it ended up in full blown hypomania by the time she was 5months old. We didnt identify it as hypomania until my new therapist dx me as bipolar in october 2011. Luckily no harm came to my baby during those months but it easily could have with all my risk taking. Now Ive been in a severe major depression since january. Suicidal ideation and all. My therapist has wanted to hospitalize me 3 or 4 times but I have refused vehemently and she has not forced me to go against my will. All of this has affected my bond with her altho i dont think she can tell. I have decided based on all that not to have more children even tho i had wanted to. We have discussed adoption some day.

Imo the likelihood your disorder will be affected before during or after pregnancy is very high. Only you can decide if you are willing to risk birth defects on medication and the fallout after the childs birth.
Dx: bipolar

Meds: lamictal, celexa, buspar, wwllbutrin
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Re: Bipolar disorder and pregnancy

Postby kittycasper » Fri Aug 10, 2012 3:41 pm

I did have to get of off my lamictal when I got pregnant I slowly reduced. We had to try and eventually get doctors help so I was off the med for several months. I was able to stay on the Wellbutrin. Once I became pregnant I stopped that med as well being worried about the baby. Shortly after I became extremely depressed regretted my decision to have a child and was angry at my self for thinking I could ever handle it in the first place. I went back on the wellbutrin and was fine. The depression was hard the first trimester but got better after that. But I still needed the Wellbutrin for the entire pregnancy. I did have some major depression issues after pregnancy despite the wellbutrin so it was obvious it was time to get back on the lamictal. I could not breast feed but that was ok because for some reason when I did I felt horribly depressed. I guess what I'm saying is no it's not easy but it can be done. It just depends on the support you have and the willingness to do what needs to be done.

Now it would not be fair if i did not add this. My son has tested on the autism spectrum. As to weather or not it is related to the medicine that will never be known. 1 in 54 boys will be born with autism plus my son suffered traumatic head injury during birth.
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Re: Bipolar disorder and pregnancy

Postby keenie » Fri Aug 10, 2012 9:04 pm

Hey all, thanks so much for sharing your stories. I have to be honest, I'm scared stiff about how I will manage with having children. At the same time I adore kids and the thought of not starting a family makes me feel very low. I feel as though the bipolar has taken so much away from me, why should it take having a family away from me too? And then I wonder if I'm just being selfish- after all, if I get ill it will be my fiance and family who will be left to pick up the pieces, and potentially the children who will suffer. It's such a tough one but it's good to hear how other people have managed, at least it gives me an idea of what I might expect.

Thanks all, keenie
DX: Bipolar Type 1 with psychotic features
Meds: Quetiapine 800mg, Fluoxetine 60mg, Depakote 1500mg, Zopiclone 7.5mg, Diazepam as required.

"Stop the world....I want to get on"
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Re: Bipolar disorder and pregnancy

Postby kittycasper » Fri Aug 10, 2012 10:20 pm

Good Luck on the decision it's a hard one and one you must make on you own. If it helps my husband is away most the time (weeks at a time) and I take care of my little one on my own. Sometimes it's very hard so i do it day to day. But sometimes he keeps me going and gives me reason ya know. If you have a child it's gonna be hard sure but the child is going to love you no matter what. Also it sounds like you have support and if they agree to help when you aren't able then you should find comfort there also.
I flew over the cuckoo's nest and I'm never ever coming back!---Barenaked Ladies Crazy
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