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Bipolar Disorder and Pregnancy: Maintaining Psychiatric Stability in the Real World of Obstetric and Psychiatric Complications

Psychiatry 2010; 167:892–897

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This article describes complex, real-life issues faced by a woman with bipolar I disorder who wished to bear a healthy child while remaining psychiatrically well. The therapeutic issues include balancing treatment decisions that affect fetal and maternal risks. The authors address the importance of carefully considering the patient’s history of response to medications when evaluating risks to maternal and fetal health. They discuss the role of the psychiatrist as a part of the treatment team faced with unpredictable but not unexpected complexities, such as miscarriage, abnormal or questionable prenatal screening tests, gestational diabetes, and the emergence of fetal decelerations, preterm labor, and psychiatric decompensation. The article presents and evaluates treatment decisions made in the setting of multiple obstetric and psychiatric complications that do not clearly fit published algorithms. The importance of incorporating family and social supports as an integral part of the treatment plan is emphasized.


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