Prescribed medication should not be stopped when a pregnancy is discovered without consulting a medical professional.
This section provides details for accessing medication advice pre-conception, during pregnancy and for women who are breastfeeding.
Understandably, some women can feel concerned about whether it is safe to continue to take particular medications for their mental health when they become pregnant or while breastfeeding. When a woman discontinues medication prescribed to treat a mental health difficulty, this can lead to a re-emergence of symptoms. For some women and their babies, the (re)emergence of mental ill health poses a much greater risk than remaining on medication. Medication should not be stopped before an adequate risk-benefit analysis has taken place. It is recommended to discuss any decisions about medication with a medical professional.
Leeds Perinatal Mental Health Service can provide consultation and advice regarding the safety of medications during the perinatal period. This includes pre-conception advice for women who wish to discuss their medication before becoming pregnant. This process takes into account a number of factors such as the woman’s history, diagnosis, symptoms and other personal factors, including the woman’s preferences, alongside weighing up the risks and benefits of continuing or stopping/changing medication alongside any potential adverse effects on the infant. If a decision is made for medication to be stopped, the consultation will consider any need for additional monitoring and support, as well as consider planning for any further changes that might be required after the baby’s delivery.
To discuss a referral for pre-conception advice about medicines in pregnancy, call 0113 855 5505, Monday to Friday between 9:00am and 5:00pm. Further information including a referral form can be found at Leeds Perinatal Mental Health Service.
Information about medicines in pregnancy, including downloadable information leaflets for patients, can be found at Medicines in pregnancy.
For more detailed information, professionals can contact the UK Teratology Information Service (UKTIS), call 0344 892 0909.
Information about medication when breastfeeding can be found at the Breast Feeding Network.
Decisions about medications when breastfeeding may involve weighing up a number of factors and may need to take into account the baby’s prematurity at delivery or any health problems in the infant or mother.