Recommendation ID

How safe are drugs used to treat bipolar disorder in pregnancy and the postnatal period?

Any explanatory notes
(if applicable)

Drugs are effective for the acute treatment of bipolar disorder and for preventing relapse. All drugs used to treat mental health problems may carry some risk for the woman, fetus and baby. For some drugs such as sodium valproate these risks are well described, but the data are drawn from epilepsy case registers. For others such as lithium, the data are very limited. In addition, the prevalence of adverse outcomes for the woman, fetus or baby in untreated bipolar disorder is not well described. The question should be addressed by establishing a long-term register of women with bipolar disorder to provide data on:
- the drugs used for treating bipolar disorder in pregnancy
- the following outcomes (by drug type and for women who had no treatment for bipolar disorder in pregnancy): maternal outcomes (for example, episodes of mood disorder in pregnancy and the postnatal period, miscarriage, preterm delivery) congenital malformations (for example, spinal cord and cardiac malformation) baby outcomes (for example, mortality, birthweight) childhood outcomes (for example, cognitive development).

Source guidance details

Comes from guidance
Antenatal and postnatal mental health: clinical management and service guidance
Date issued
December 2014

Other details

Is this a recommendation for the use of a technology only in the context of research? No  
Is it a recommendation that suggests collection of data or the establishment of a register?   Yes  
Last Reviewed 06/01/2015