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Psychiatric medications and pregnancy

On Behalf of | Mar 24, 2021 | Medical Malpractice

Psychiatric medications are incredibly common in American society today. Many women in New Jersey take medications to stabilize mood disorders like depression. When they become pregnant, deciding whether or not to discontinue medication becomes a serious issue. Unfortunately, it’s common to see physicians make mistakes when treating women for psychiatric problems during pregnancy.

Options for managing pregnant patients

Some patients want to discontinue their medication during pregnancy. However, this isn’t always the best course of action. When pregnant people go off their medication, it can lead to shockingly high rates of relapse. As many as 70% to 85% of pregnant women with disorders like depression and bipolar disorder see their symptoms return when they go off medication.

Sometimes, patients and doctors will decide to reduce the level of medication taken by the mother during pregnancy. This can be problematic, too. A lower dose may not be enough to help. At the same time, it can be enough to expose the fetus to the negative effects of the medication. Reducing the dosage of a necessary medication during pregnancy can thus lead to two negative outcomes and no positives.

Psychiatrists are not always well-versed in the needs of mothers with mood disorders during pregnancy. They also sometimes underestimate the effects of medications on fetuses. Children exposed to psychiatric drugs in the womb may suffer effects like lower IQ and low muscle tone. Mothers may be at higher risk for issues like gestational diabetes and even preeclampsia.

Some of the errors made by these doctors may rise to the level of medical malpractice. If you or a loved one has been negatively impacted by a doctor’s handling of mood disorder during pregnancy, consider contacting an attorney. An experienced lawyer may be able to help you pursue damages.