This toolkit is designed to offer advice to doctors and informs the multi-disciplinary team of best practice in providing preconception/family planning advice to women with a mental illness. The document contains both information and resources and also recommendations that shift the clinical approach towards a collaborative model of care, using a strengths-based formulation.
Every woman should think about her physical and mental health when planning a pregnancy, to support her health and the health of her future baby. This toolkit aims to provide practitioners supporting women with mental illness with information and resources to help answer the many questions that women and their partners have in relation to this very important decision, such as:
- Do I have to stop taking my psychiatric medication while pregnant?
- If so, will I be able to function without it?
- If I keep taking the medication, what are the risks to my baby?
- What is the chance of my mental health getting worse?
- How might my condition and its treatment affect parenting?
- What are the chances of my mental health affecting my child’s mental health?
- Are there any risks associated with not treating my condition?
- What mental health services are available for pregnant women in my area?
- What kind of support is available after my baby is born?
Ensuring women and their partners are equipped with information and specialist advice when needed, will help them make the choice that is best for them and their family and to avoid rushed decisions that can result in tragic outcomes.