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Schizophrenia and Pregnancy


Topic Overview

People with schizophrenia have goals and desires just like people without the illness. These may include starting a family.

You can have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby if you have schizophrenia. But there are some things to know.

You will want people to help you during your pregnancy and when you are first taking care of your new baby. It's best to talk with your pregnancy doctor (obstetrician), mental health doctor, and family doctor and your child's doctor (pediatrician) about any changes in your treatment or lifestyle during and just after your pregnancy.

Medicine

You may wonder if the medicine you take for schizophrenia will harm your baby. Talk to your doctor about this.

Your doctor may suggest taking the older, typical antipsychotics because they have been used longer and appear to have little risk to you or your baby.1 But the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rates all antipsychotics except clozapine as a possible risk to pregnancy and the baby.1 There is no evidence of risk with clozapine.1

You may be taking other medicines for schizophrenia or for the side effects of the medicines. You need to discuss all the medicines you take with your health care team.

Think about whether the medicine is more of a danger to your baby than not taking the medicine. When people with schizophrenia stop taking medicines, it may cause a return of symptoms. The symptoms may result in:1

  • Not getting the care before birth (prenatal care) that you and your baby need.
  • Not eating well enough and giving your baby poor nutrition.
  • Taking other medicines or supplements that may harm your baby.
  • Using alcohol, illegal drugs, or tobacco, all of which may harm your baby.

The best thing you can do is to plan your pregnancy with your health care team or contact them as soon as you know you are pregnant. They can help you make the decisions you will need to make about medicines. They also can help you throughout your pregnancy and watch for symptoms or problems you may have.

Related Information

References

Citations

  1. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (2008, reaffirmed 2009). Use of psychiatric medications during pregnancy and lactation. ACOG Practice Bulletin No. 92. Obstetrics and Gynecology, 111(4): 1001–1020.

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerKathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerMiklos Ferenc Losonczy, MD, PhD - Psychiatry
Last RevisedAugust 19, 2010

eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise

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