Can I take Lithium at all before and during pregnancy? Ive heard conflicting news. I really cant go off Lithium.
Generally, it is advisable to avoid Lithium during pregnancy. In some cases, it may be appropriate for women experiencing episodes of depression and/or mania to continue their lithium treatment in order to stay well.
Risks of Using Lithium in Pregnancy
First trimester – there is a small risk of congenital problems, including serious heart malformation.
Second trimester – there continues to be a risk of congenital problems, but not to the same degree as in the first trimester.
Third trimester – towards the end of this trimester, the mother is more at risk of lithium toxicity.
Childbirth – both mother and baby are at greater risk to lithium toxicity, as the kidneys filter lithium differently in labor.
Taking lithium during pregnancy should be an informed decision - it is important that you are able to discuss the benefits and risks of continuing or discontinuing treatment.
If it is decided that you are best to stay on Lithium you will be given the lowest effective dose possible and your mental state and lithium levels will be carefully monitored.
Lithium should be stopped before childbirth, and is sometimes gradually reduced before the due date. In some cases, women may take lithium for longer, stopping it at the start of labor.
- Lithium Information for Consumers
- Lithium Information for Healthcare Professionals (includes dosage details)
- Side Effects of Lithium (detailed)
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