Please note that Portsmouth Hospital NHS Trust is not responsible for the content of any of the links below but hopes that they may provide a source of further help and information.


Medicines and Pregnancy

Most women prefer not to take medication whilst they are pregnant. However, for women with diagnosed mental health disorders it is important that you maintain your own mental health during pregnancy.

NICE guidance: “ Many types of medication for mental health problems may affect your baby if you take them when you are pregnant or when you are breastfeeding. But there is also a risk for your baby if you become seriously unwell because you are not taking medication. ¬†Whether you take medication will depend on the particular type of medication and how likely you are to become unwell without it”.

Do not stop taking your medication without first consulting your GP or mental health team, as this may have adverse side effects for you and your baby. With your doctor and perinatal psychiatrist you can discuss balancing risks and benefits of medication and deciding whether to continue, stop or change them.

This link will give you information on medicine in pregnancy:

Bumps - best use of medicines in pregnancy

Please note the information on this website is only a guide and any decision regarding your medication should be made with your doctor. Together you can weigh up whether or not to use a medicine by considering how the medicine might improve your health, against any possible problems that the drug might cause.

In Portsmouth we have a Specialist Perinatal Mental Health Midwife and an Infant Feeding Specialist Midwife who will support and advise you. There are also caseloading midwives and our lead obstetrician who also may support you during your pregnancy, labour and postnatal period.

Things to discuss:


Anticonvulsants (valporate, carbamazepine, lamotrigine). There are serious risks to your baby if you take valporate (spina bifida and learning difficulties) or carbamazepine (spina bifida, heart problems and cleft palate) when you are pregnant.

If you are already taking valporate or carbamazepine and you are planning to have a baby or become pregnant, you should discuss this with your GP IMMEDIATELY so they can consider which medications may be more suitable. In rare instances some women can only be treated with these medications and pregnancy requires careful planning and communication between the mother and health professionals.


Antidepressants can be used to treat anxiety disorders as well as depression. Your doctor should discuss the risks from different antidepressants with you, including:


If you're taking an antipsychotic and are likely to become unwell without medication, you should be advised to carry on taking it.

Some women experience weight gain when taking antipsychotics in pregnancy, which can also increase your risk of gestational diabetes. Your midwife will arrange a test for this when you are 28 weeks pregnant. Considering this, we encourage you to eat healthily as excessive weight gain in pregnancy may affect your choices for birth. Should you have any concern, please discuss this with your midwife.


There are known risks to your unborn baby (heart malformations) if you are taking Lithium and it should not be offered to women who are planning a pregnancy or who are pregnant. It is only offered if other antipsychotic medication has not been effective.

(National Institute for Health and Care Excellence - guidance)
NICE - guidance and information about medication

Helpful information and advice: