Psychosis and Pregnancy

QUESTION

Dr Laura,
I`m a 31-year-old German. My husband and I are thinking of having our first child next year.

I'm looking forward to that happening but I have one concern: I am schizophrenic for 5 years now. What do I have to do to have a normal pregnancy as possible?

Probably I can`t stop taking drugs. The information I have is that I have to change the drug I am taking at the moment. Risperdal affects the fertility. There is a certain risk for me of having an episode while being pregnant or after the birth. Therefore I need a careful supervision by my doctors.

I would be grateful if you could give me some more information.

Kind regards,
Anne

ANSWER

Dear Anne,
Congratulations on your decision to have a child! I wish you all blessings on this journey.

I am a psychologist, not an MD, which means I can't prescribe medication. Therefore, while I am trained in treating schizophrenia, I am not equipped to advise you regarding medication that is safe for pregnancy.

I agree with your assessment that you will want careful supervision from your doctors, including before conception, during pregnancy, and after the birth of the baby. As you probably know, hormones can affect mood regulation and psychological balance.

My advice is to find a psychiatrist who is experienced in treating schizophrenia and who is also experienced in treatment during pregnancy.

Good luck!

--Dr. Laura

Laura Markham

As both a mom and a Clinical Psychologist, Dr. Laura Markham offers a unique perspective on raising kids. Her relationship-based parenting model has helped thousands of families across the U.S. and Canada find compassionate, common-sense solutions to everything from separation anxiety and sleep problems to sass talk and cell phones.

Have a question about parenting your child? Ask Dr. Laura on her Pregnancy.org Forum, Chat with her live on the Pregnancy.org chat on Wednesdays, or Tune in to her radio show and ask her in person! She takes calls every Wednesday at 9am Pacific/ 10am Mountain/ 11am Central/Noon Eastern at MyExpertSolution.com.

Dr. Markham is the founding editor of www.AhaParenting.com, where she regularly takes on a wide range of challenging questions from parents who struggle with "the toughest, most rewarding job on earth." In private practice, and as a speaker and presenter at parenting workshops and seminars, she enjoys connecting face-to-face with parents to help them transform their relationships with their children, regardless of age.

She is the author of an upcoming Q&A e-book series, Ask Dr. Markham, which will have editions for all ages from birth to teens, and of the soon-to-be-released, The Secret Life of Happy Moms, which lays out her relationship-based approach to raising kids who turn out great.

Dr. Markham received her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Columbia University in New York. She's held many challenging jobs, including running publishing companies with 100 employees, serving on corporate boards and coaching business leaders, as well as counseling families and children. Bottom line, she says, "Raising children is the hardest, and most rewarding, work in the world." Dr. Markham lives in New York, with her husband, 14-year-old daughter, and 17-year-old son.