Women need to take medication for many different physical and mental health problems during pregnancy. Many women and their doctors decide that it would be safest for you to take medication for your mental health during pregnancy. This includes antidepressants, antipsychotics and anti-anxiety medications. Some babies can experience symptoms after birth because of these medicines. For this reason your baby will have a physical health check within 24 hours of birth. You should not worry about this – even if babies do develop symptoms these usually settle down within a few days without the need for any treatment.
- Make sure you tell the people involved in your care what medication you are taking
- Don’t stop or make any changes to your medication without talking to your doctor first
- Take medication regularly and make sure you don’t run out – if this happens make sure you talk to your GP or psychiatry doctor about what to do
- Your doctor will tell you about any symptoms your baby might experience
- If you give birth in hospital, a New Born Examination your baby will take place after birth (within the first 72 hours) to make sure that he/she is not experiencing any physical health problems
- The reviews will include checking your baby’s alertness and looking for any signs of irritability or distress, testing his/her movements for any stiffness or floppiness as well as listening to the baby’s heart and lungs. The doctor will also ask if you have any worries about your baby’s wellbeing, including how he / she is settling, feeding and sleeping
- The check will take around 10 minutes and is not harmful or painful for your baby
- During the New Born Examination, any concerns found with your baby, will be discussed with you fully, and whether these are due to medication or other causes. Other symptoms, which may present are: A continuous high pitched cry, fast breathing, shaking of arms and legs, diarrhoea, fever, sweating, excessive sneezing, yawning and hiccups. They will explain any investigations or treatment needed. If you have taken antidepressant medication in pregnancy and have a home birth, your baby will have a New Born Examination by a midwife.
- You will be supported to feed your baby whether you choose to breastfeed, bottle feed or mixed feed
If you are worried about your baby, speak to your GP, midwife or health visitor. If at any time your baby appears unwell, drowsy or has feeding difficulties you should see your GP or take him/her to A&E
BUMPS website is the best place for you and GP to check if medication is pregnancy safe. BUMPS (Best Use of Medication in Pregnancy) www.medicinesinpregnancy.org
American website used to check drugs for breastfeeding
Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMed) - NCBI Bookshelf (nih.gov)