Can women with bipolar disorder have children?

Parenting with bipolar disorder presents unique challenges. Your family can thrive with personal health management and open communication.

Becoming a parent is often associated with fears and unknowns. If you live with bipolar disorder, you may have concerns about the stigma, caring for your children, and experiencing mood swings.

Many people with bipolar disorder have healthy, loving relationships and stable family environments. Stability is often achieved through management of bipolar disorder and educating loved ones, including children, about the condition.

Parenting can be difficult for anyone, but living with bipolar disorder can introduce nuance. People with bipolar disorder often have to manage their treatment—including medication and talk therapy—while caring for a child.

Living with bipolar disorder can also mean managing triggers and buffering mood episodes with therapy and a healthy routine.

A 2017 meta-analysis of studies found that people with bipolar disorder have more stressful life events prior to an episode of mania or depression. The paper included childbirth as a stressful life event and found that people with bipolar disorder were more likely to cause relapse than other mental illnesses, such as mental illness. B. severe depression.

People with bipolar disorder can be loving and present parents. Even if living with bipolar disorder, parents can provide the care and attention children need into adulthood.

A parent with bipolar disorder may have different relationships with their children than people without bipolar disorder, so family dynamics can be nuanced.

A 2020 Review of Studies on Bipolar Disorder and Family Environments found that parents reported less cohesiveness in their families than parents of households in which mental illness was not identified.

However, the paper also found that the impact of bipolar disorder on the family setting was not significantly different from that of other mental health diagnoses.

Likelihood of passing on bipolar disorder to children

Family history may play a role in risk of developing bipolar disorder. However, children of people with bipolar will not always get the condition.

A 2018 Review of Studies found that there is a 40 to 70 percent chance that both identical twins will have bipolar disorder if one has it. The same review found there was a 5% to 10% chance that a child or sibling of someone with bipolar disorder would also develop the condition (7 times higher than the general population).

However, the review finds that these relatives are actually more likely to develop depression than bipolar disorder, even if they have a close family member with bipolar disorder.

Many people with bipolar disorder make excellent parents. But it’s understandable to have concerns and fears when embarking on a parenting journey. Knowing that others with bipolar disorder share your concerns can help you feel validated.

Bipolar Disorder and Pregnancy: What You Should Know First

A Study 2016 collected the comments of women with bipolar disorder regarding pregnancy. These women had many concerns, including:

  • How drug side effects, like obesity, can increase birth complications
  • That they may relapse or have a mood episode as a result of pregnancy and childbirth
  • Stigmatized as mothers with mental illness
  • Infants need to be bottle-fed to protect them from bipolar disorder drugs like lithium
  • Coping with sleep deprivation while caring for a newborn, which is a known trigger for mood episodes

Study participants found that having a supportive family and partner helped alleviate some of these fears.

There is evidence that pregnancy does not affect the course of bipolar disorder.

A 2021 study found no difference in the progression of bipolar disorder in pregnant versus non-pregnant women. The study reached this conclusion by analyzing daily mood scores. A Study 2019 also found no difference in pregnancy outcomes between women with bipolar disorder and those without.

Still a 2016 Review of Studies found that women with bipolar disorder had poorer pregnancy outcomes than women without bipolar disorder.

As someone with bipolar disorder, you may want to make the most informed decisions for yourself. As part of this journey, you may want to reflect on how the symptoms of bipolar disorder can impact your life as a parent.

To dive deeper into this topic, you can listen to our podcast, Inside Bipolar Podcast: Pregnancy Considerations with Bipolar Disorder.

Symptom: Episodes of manic excitement

Some people associate excitement with an episode of mania. But one Study 2018 of 583 people with bipolar disorder or schizophrenia found that agitation was internally experienced more often than:

  • tension
  • restlessness
  • discomfort

agitation did occur in this group with an average of 22 mild episodes per year.

In this study, about two-thirds of the participants could tell when they were experiencing or about to experience restlessness. Many people sought medical help. Others tried to control themselves by talking to friends, family, their doctor, or by sticking to their medication.

While excitement might be a personally Warning signs of a manic episode may help to talk to a psychologist about learning to recognize clinical signs of mania. You may want to explore self-management techniques you can use to balance your experience with your role as a parent.

Symptom: Depressive episode, lack of motivation

Treating bipolar depression can be complex because the medications for depression and depression in bipolar disorder are different. For example, if a patient is given an antidepressant instead of a mood stabilizer, researcher Note that this can sometimes make symptoms worse, e.g. B. if someone has:

As a parent and as an individual, your self-care is important. If you experience lack of motivation or thoughts of harming yourself, contact a doctor or local emergency services.

A daily routine can help you feel more motivated if you are suffering from bipolar depression.

Symptom: Tendency to have euthymic periods

In a time of euthymia (du-leg-me-uh), or if it’s you Not When you experience a mood episode, you can welcome the break from the symptoms. During this time, you may also choose to take on important responsibilities as a parent and as a person managing a mental illness.

A euthymic state can occur when you discuss bipolar disorder with your child. You can also take steps to treat bipolar disorder, such as: For example, keep a mood journal and make a plan for how others can help if you experience a future mood episode.

Symptom: Psychosis and unforeseen triggers

Sometimes you can’t predict when a mood episode will occur. When you are suffering from psychosis, your family can be an important support system.

Psychosis is when someone with bipolar disorder:

  • delusions
  • hallucinations
  • wrong beliefs

Psychosis can be part of a manic or depressive state. include examples believing you have special powers or are financially ruined.

As a parent, it helps to make sure you have a mental health contingency plan in place for times like these. Talking to your child about the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) officers can make the episode less scary and more manageable for them, especially if they don’t have the support of another parent or family member.

It’s a good idea to discuss with your child how to deal with crisis episodes. Try to make a list of people you can call when this happens so they can get the help they need. The list can include not only emergency personnel, but also friends and family who you trust and who understand your family situation.

People with bipolar disorder can and do become caring and responsible parents. It’s understandable to have fears and insecurities beginning a pregnancy or parenting journey. By managing your health and developing contingency plans, you can create a healthy environment in which your family can thrive.

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