(i.e. those who have had a previous PP or who have a bipolar diagnosis):
You can find APP’s insider guide: ‘Planning pregnancy: a guide for women at high risk of Postpartum Psychosis’ here & APP’s resources on bipolar disorder and pregnancy here. You can take part in a trial of a new interactive workbook to support women through pregnancy by emailing us here.
1. What will happen to my antenatal psychiatric appointments or preconception advice appointments?
- In England, Scotland & Wales, there are plans in place for routine home visits and out-patient appointments to continue, but some appointments will be done by telephone or video call. We will add information from Northern Ireland when we have it.
- Perinatal Psychiatrists say that birth planning for women at high risk of PP will in some cases be offered remotely but will still be thorough and comprehensive.
2. How do I get medication during this crisis?
- In England, Scotland and Wales, medication plans for pregnancy and the postnatal period should be made with perinatal psychiatrists in advance to ensure there is plenty of time to get prescriptions filled. Talk to your GP, Specialist Perinatal Mental Health Team, or Perinatal Psychiatrist, to ensure plans are in place.
- Women who are remaining on Lithium throughout pregnancy will continue to need the same degree of medical vigilance. Antenatal care is still “open for business” and obstetrics/ maternity and perinatal mental health will work collaboratively to ensure the safest possible antenatal care remains uninterrupted.
- In Scotland, medication prescribing remains with GPs on recommendation of mental health services. We will add information from Northern Ireland when we have it.
- You can phone your GP prescriptions line / psychiatric services and they can send prescriptions directly to your local pharmacy for collection. Some pharmacies are operating a delivery service for those who are shielding or self isolating.
3. What impact does Covid-19 have on pregnancy, foetal development or risk of postnatal illness?
- Our best knowledge to date is that Covid-19 doesn’t seem to cause problems with pregnancy, and it is believed that having CV-19 is unlikely to impact on your baby’s development. Most pregnant women who develop the illness will experience mild or moderate cold or flu-like symptoms. Pregnant women with other health conditions (e.g heart disease, or if you usually are advised to have a flu jab) should be extra cautious as they may be more unwell than other women. It may be possible for you to pass coronavirus to your baby before they are born. But when this has happened, the babies have got better. There’s no evidence coronavirus causes miscarriage or affects how your baby develops in pregnancy.
- Pregnant women have been placed in the ‘moderate risk group’ as a precautionary measure as not enough is yet known about the virus. This means you should follow guidance on hand-washing and social distancing. You can access up to date government guidance here.
- You should still attend appointments and scans, unless advised not to.
- You should still seek help if you are worried about your physical or mental health.
- Maintaining contact with friends and family, and being active, can be very important to maintaining good mental health during pregnancy, so consider how to stay connected, and what you can do, within government guidelines.
- The Royal College of Midwives and The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists have produced some excellent guidance for health professionals and women, which is being regularly updated here and here. You can access the Royal College of Psychiatrists advice here.
- We do not yet know whether stresses related to the crisis will impact on women’s chance of developing maternal mental illness. We know that managing anxiety and stress in pregnancy and the postnatal period is important. You can find excellent advice from Mind about managing anxiety and isolation here and from the Mental Health Foundation here.
APP are here for you. If you are a pregnant women with previous experience of PP or bipolar, you can talk to an APP peer supporter by visiting our forum or registering for email or video support here. APP also has a number of Facebook groups (e.g. a book club, an activities & wellbeing group, various volunteer groups) you can join.
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