Pregnacy and Psychotrophic Medications, Do They Mix?

Being Pregnant Will Affect Your Medication Regime

Are you currently taking psychotrophic medications (any medication capable of affecting the mind, emotions, and behavior), and have recently discovered that you are PREGNANT? As much as one may hope that those medications may help your child’s mood or personality in the future, just as it does to yours now, there is no definitive answer which exists that suggests whether psychotrophic drugs are safe during pregnancy or lactation. The more important factor to consider is will these drugs effect the development of your growing child. The risk and benefits of taking psychotrophic versus maternal psychiatric illness must be carefully evaluated on an individual basis. Once you the patient, your psychiatrist and obstetrician decide to continue your psychiatric medications throughout pregnancy, it is essential to have the dosages recalibrated to physiologic changes every trimester. The National Institute of Mental Health states,

“Decisions on medication should be based on each woman’s needs and circumstances. Medications should be selected based on available scientific research, and they should be taken at the lowest possible dose. Pregnant women should be watched closely throughout their pregnancy and after delivery.”

No evidence has been shown for antidepressants causing intrauterine death or major birth defects. Serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) are associated with transient perinatal syndrome. Studies have shown, Fluoxetine (Prozac), to be found in amniotic fluid. Mood stabilizers are associated with teratogenic risks, specifically cardiac anomalies and neural tube defects.

After the baby is born, women and their doctors should watch for postpartum depression, especially if they stopped taking their medication during pregnancy. In addition, women who nurse while taking psychiatric medications should know that a small amount of the medication passes into the breast milk. However, the medication may or may not affect the baby. It depends on the medication and when it is taken. Women taking psychiatric medications and who intend to breastfeed should discuss the potential risks and benefits with their doctors.

“Hold up, wait a minute, you might pregnant? Then get off that medication!” Your doctor will tell you what is best for you, specifically!

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