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Preggers with bipolar disorders suffer huge risk of postpartum psychosis

Postpartum psychosis almost always stems from bipolar disorder but is often missed because of its rarity and lack of research on the subject. Compounding the problem, physicians are reluctant to prescribe lithium for breastfeeding women for fear that the drug will negatively impact the baby. However, a small number of lithium-treated mothers and breastfed babies have been studied and the infants had no adverse effects with careful follow up, said Winser, the lead author. Lithium is the most effective and fast-acting drug to treat postpartum psychosis. Postpartum psychosis increases the risk for a mother harming or killing her baby or herself. “More often than not, the risk of the medication is less than the risk of the uncontrolled disorder,” he added. “This is a really serious disorder, and no one likes to treat women with medication during pregnancy or breastfeeding, but there’s certainly very high risk in not treating as well, such as the risk for suicide,” Wisner said. Awareness of the treatable disorder and diagnosing it can prevent tragedy, according to the review. But because only one or two out of every 1,000 mothers are affected and the lack of research on the disorder, the diagnosis can be missed. “People think that once you’re pregnant, you’re not entitled to your body, but what happens to the mother happens to the fetus — a mentally healthy mom is critical for fetal and infant development.And these women often experience good responses with lithium treatment,” Wisner said.–Agencies

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