Schizophrenia and Pregnancy
People with schizophrenia have goals and desires just like people without the illness. These may include starting a family.
You can have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby if you have schizophrenia. But there are some things to know so that your health and your baby’s health can be their best.
The best thing you can do is to plan your pregnancy with your healthcare team or contact them as soon as you know you are pregnant. They can talk to you about things that you can do to help you have the healthiest pregnancy possible. This will include talking about your medicines and whether they are safe to take during pregnancy.
You may want people to help you during your pregnancy and when you are first taking care of your new baby. Your healthcare team can talk with you about additional supports and resources to help you during and after your pregnancy. This will include keeping in regular contact with your:
Let them know about any changes in your treatment, health, or lifestyle during and just after your pregnancy.
Medicines and pregnancy
You may wonder if the medicine you take for schizophrenia will harm your baby. Some medicines are considered safe to take during pregnancy. Others could pose health risks to the baby. Talk with your healthcare provider about this.
Your healthcare provider may suggest taking the older, typical antipsychotics. This is because they have been used longer and seem to have little risk to you or your baby. But the FDA rates all antipsychotics, except clozapine, as a possible risk to pregnancy and the baby. There is no evidence of risk with clozapine.
You may be taking other medicines for schizophrenia, other mental health problems (such as depression and anxiety), medical problems, or for the side effects of the medicines. It is important to talk about all the medicines you take with your healthcare team. Your healthcare providers can tell you if you are taking any medicines of concern. They can also help you think about whether the medicine is more of a danger to your baby than not taking the medicine or whether there are other, safer medicines that you can take. When people with schizophrenia stop taking medicines, it may cause a return of symptoms. The symptoms may result in:
Not getting the care before birth (prenatal care) that you and your baby need.
Not eating well enough and giving your baby poor nutrition.
Taking other medicines or supplements that may harm your baby.
Using alcohol, illegal drugs, or tobacco, all of which may harm your baby.
Talk with your healthcare team if you are planning on becoming pregnant or as soon as you know you are pregnant. They can help you make the decisions you will need to make about medicines. They also can help you throughout your pregnancy and work with you to look out for symptoms or problems you may have.