-her age is 40
-never pregnant before
-having the ailment for 22 year
as far as I know, and I speak to you as the mother of 3 and bipolar patient of
12 years, I believe it to be one or the other. A good doctor will tell you the same, its a trade off of either medicated trtreatment OR a pregnancy, I chose pregnancy after pregnancy and living with myself and a good man by my side keeping me in check. Talk to your doc but medication during pregnancy is a no-no in bipolar terms.
Not only is lithium contraindicated in pregnancy, having a first baby at age 40 is not without risk to both mother and child. The child is at greater risk for problems like Downs Syndrome after the mother is over 35y/o. At 40, a woman is getting physically past child bearing and can have a greater risk for bleeding and miscarriage. There are some women who successfully have a baby at age 40 and above but risks also increase and a set of parents should talk to an OB-GYN about that risk before they decide for pregnancy. You can also discuss lithium therapy and what alternatives there are. Please consult an OB-GYN before attempting pregnancy, preferably an OB-GYN who deals with high risk pregnancy, and get his/her opinion. It may actually be best to look into adoption for you as a couple.
I would weigh the pro and cons on this. I'm on Lithium and my Psychiatrist told me that if I came off or cut down lithium and went back on it may not work like before. If your wife is happy and healthy on Lithium, why take the chance. The reason I'm saying this is because lithium has changed my life. I no longer suffer from major depressions and am happy and normal again. My family has me back finally.
I am a mom of four, but fortunately completed my family before bipolar came upon me. Really, as a previous poster and mom said, personally FOR ME I would never take the risk of consuming ANY drug, bipolar or otherwise, during pregnancy. The risks of damaging the development of your baby is, to my mind, too great a risk to take. It took YEARS before the medical profession was willing to concede that there was a huge correlation between depakote consumption and congenital birth defects.
And agreed, coupled with the fact that your wife is age 40 - and that this would be a first-time pregnancy, could present further difficulties. The likelihood of either post-partum depression, OR post-partum mania, is much greater in women who have recently given birth, and who suffer from bipolar. In fact, recent birth is often something which triggers the illness initially in many women. I have read that a risk-free option for pregnant women who choose to abstain from drugs, is controlling the illness with ECT treatments. Yes, a fairly grisly suggestion, especially if you are not in favor of, or fear the procedure - but apparently it's an option and a route some have chosen to opt for.
Nobody can tell you what direction to go in when it comes to planning a family. Just that it would be wise to examine the situation critically, and also bear in mind that newborns can be an exhausting responsibility, what with the need for four-hour feedings, crying from teething or colic, and it IS sometimes a draining and emotionally-demanding experience. They are well-worth it... but just be sure that your wife, and ALSO yourself, understand and are prepared for the realities of parenthood. And that you feel sure that your wife CAN cope with it. Kathleen
I've read that Lithium can cause birth defects. Why not look up Lithium on Drugs.com and check its side effects. There are so many alternatives to Lithium now for Bipolars. I am Bipolar with Psychosis. Lithium didn't work for me. I take Lamictal. It's a mood stabilizer. I also take Clonazelam, Geodon and several things for sleep. Fortunately, I have had my children already. It can't be easy for the two of you. I know how it is to want a baby. I had to have three surgeries in order to get pregnant with my second child. I feel confident that your wife will be able to bear a child and that you can have a family. It will take a knowledgeable Obstetrician and Psychiatrist for this to work. I wish you all the luck in the World.
- Lithium Information for Consumers
- Lithium Information for Healthcare Professionals (includes dosage details)
- Side Effects of Lithium (detailed)
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