Schizophrenia & pregnancy
If you are being treated for schizophrenia when you discover that you are pregnant, it is important not to stop your medications without consulting your psychiatrist or GP.
Schizophrenia is uncommon and there is usually a family history. Sufferers will generally have their first episode in their late teens or early twenties. Your doctor will work with you to manage your schizophrenia during your pregnancy.
The two major symptoms are:
- Delusions – beliefs that are not real but seem to be real. Typically delusions might be conspiracy related or you might believe that people are out to get you or you are being followed. Some sufferers think they have special powers or insight or feel that their thoughts are being controlled by someone else.
- Hallucinations – things that can be seen, heard, felt or smelt, but are not real. It is as if your ears, eyes and other senses are playing tricks on you. The experience can be both interesting and unnerving.
Other symptoms include:
- social withdrawal, often because you feel paranoid
- difficulty organising your normal daily tasks
- difficulty making decisions because of feeling uncertain and ambivalent
- difficulty organising thoughts and jumbled speech
- reversal of your sleep–wake cycle so that you tend to sleep during the day and be up at night.
While you may prefer not to have to take medication during your pregnancy and while breastfeeding, this desire must be weighed up against the possibility of relapse.
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