Clinical characteristics of maternal mental health service users treated with mood stabilizing or antipsychotic medication

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We aimed to investigate the characteristics of pregnant women who required either mood stabilizer or antipsychotic treatment. These women requiring such treatment are likely to be more mentally unwell and thus carry a higher burden of comorbidities associated with poor pregnancy outcomes.


This retrospective review investigated the common characteristics of pregnant women who were prescribed with antipsychotics or mood stabilizers under a major city's public maternal mental health service. Demographic data, pregnancy factors and prenatal care, stressors and support, concurrent medical and substance abuse problems, and ongoing maternal mental health issues were recorded.


Most pregnancies were unplanned. Commonly, social stressors, medical problems, and substance use were identified. The most common diagnosis was bipolar disorder.


Pregnant women requiring treatment with mood stabilizers or antipsychotics are a complex clinical population, with multiple risk factors for negative pregnancy outcome, before even considering the potential risk from psychotropic agents and mental illness itself. Obtaining reliable data about substance use and medication compliance remains problematic.

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