Pregnancy and Mental Health

A common myth states that hormones released during pregnancy protect women from psychiatric disorders and foster a period of emotional well-being.  Recent studies, however, have shown that up to 20% of women suffer from mood or anxiety disorders during the gestation and postpartum periods.  Whether the symptoms develop at the onset of pregnancy or are a continuation of a previous history, women face a difficult decision about how to manage their illness during pregnancy.

It is common for women to discontinue or avoid pharmacologic treatment in order to decrease the risks of prenatal exposure to medications.  This is not always the safest option, however, as psychiatric illness in the mother can in some cases cause significant morbidity for the mother and child.  It is important for the patient to be well informed about the risks involved on both sides and take into account her specific diagnosis and the recommendations of her health care provider.


Click on the tabs below for more information on common psychiatric disorders and the risks of fetal medication exposure.