Preparing for motherhood: How can the family support a woman who has an existing psychiatric illness?
Motherhood

Preparing for motherhood: How can the family support a woman who has an existing psychiatric illness?

The support of her family can help her have a smooth pregnancy and delivery

White Swan Foundation

Planning a pregnancy when you have a psychiatric illness can be a smooth process if one is informed/educated and plan around any potential complications that may arise. The support of the family and the partner can be of great help in these circumstances. The partner and family can:

  • Plan the pregnancy by talking to the gynecologist about any medication the woman may be taking due to her psychiatric illness

  • Educate yourself, family and friends on the illness and ensure that the mother faces no stigma

  • If the psychiatric illness has developed or has been diagnosed during the pregnancy, do not blame the woman for it. Psychiatric illnesses, like any physical illness cannot be controlled or predicted.

  • While anxiety and mood swings are common during any pregnancy, these may be enhanced when the woman has a psychiatric illness

  • Ensure that she faces no domestic violence. This can affect the baby too

  • Psychotropic drugs can have side effects. Discuss these with your psychiatrist and obstetrician and weigh the pros and cons. Do not reject treatment and put medication on hold without consulting with your doctor.

  • Look for warning signs of psychiatric symptoms.

Caring for someone who has a psychiatric illness can be exhausting. Take care of yourself and talk to family, a friend or a counselor about your stresses.

White Swan Foundation
www.whiteswanfoundation.org