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Deciding whether to take antipsychotic medication during pregnancy

You may need to take medication (for physical problems as well as mental health ones) before, during, and after pregnancy. If you want to get pregnant you will need to decide whether to continue, stop or change any medication you take. It’s just the same with antipsychotic medication. You may have to decide about medication after you find you are pregnant – many pregnancies aren’t planned.

It can be difficult to decide about taking a medication in pregnancy. We often don’t have enough information to say that medication is 100% safe in pregnancy. What you can do is weigh up the risks and benefits, for you, of taking or not taking medication.


You may have to think about:

  • How often and how severe your episodes of illness have been?

  • Medications that have helped, made no difference or caused side effects.

  • How you and your baby might be affected if you become unwell while pregnant or after birth.

  • How antipsychotics and other medications might affect your baby. 


If you have already had an episode of severe mental illness, it’s important to think carefully about the risks of stopping or changing medication, because it can make you unwell again. Pregnancy can be a wonderful time in your life – but it does not protect against mental illness. You will have a higher risk of getting unwell in pregnancy, or after you have had your baby if you have had a diagnosis of:

  • Bipolar Disorder

  • Schizoaffective Disorder

  • Other psychotic illnesses

  • Severe Depression


The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines1 recommends that you should continue an antipsychotic if, without it, you are likely to become unwell again.

You may not have had an antipsychotic before, but may have to start it for the first time when trying to get pregnant, during pregnancy, or when breastfeeding. Do talk to your GP or psychiatrist about the medication decisions you need to make.

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