How to manage your mental illness before and during your pregnancy
Preparing for motherhood when you have a psychiatric illness does not necessarily have to be hugely challenging. By consulting your psychiatrist, obstetrician and keeping them informed about your mental health and your pregnancy, you may be able to manage your illness well enough to enjoy this phase of your life.
When you speak to your obstetrician, be sure to mention:
Your history of mental illness
The medication you’ve been taking.
It is advisable that your psychiatrist communicates with your obstetrician, sharing all relevant information on these issues. This will help the gynecologist be informed about your situation, and be equipped to handle any problems, should they arise.
You may also want to share your care plan with your obstetrician, so that they are aware of how you will access services, and what can be done if complications occur.
If you are have been or are taking medications, it is essential to mention this to your obstetrician so that they can make sure that you and your baby are okay.
If you have been taking medication and have had an unplanned pregnancy, knowing about your case history and medication helps your obstetrician conduct the appropriate investigations and scans to check if the fetal development is progressing as it should for a healthy baby.
Some medication may be diabetogenic (causing diabetes). If your medication falls into this category, your obstetrician may want to monitor your blood sugar levels regularly and offer intervention when necessary.
Managing your mental illness under the advice of your psychiatrist and obstetrician can help you take care of yourself, and your baby - before pregnancy and after the birth of the baby.