Q. I am 26 years old i have had sole custody of my 5 year old son for 5 years and have a relatively stable home life. I have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and show signs of schizophrenia, I was on medication for treatment and seeing my psychologist once a month. I have currently stopped my medication as it was uncertain if taking them seroquel, and effexor during pregnancy would affect the healthy development of the fetus of my unborn child. i am currently 2 months pregnant, and am early in my relationship with my boyfriend and the father of the yet unborn child. I have noticed that my jumpiness, paranoia and mood swings have been little out of control, and i have been showing more signs of my depression, I am wondering if there is anything i can do without medication, or if there is medication that is safe to use while pregnant?

A. It’s very prudent of you to be concerned about this matter. You recognized that your symptoms have returned since you stopped taking medication and you are proactively seeking help. I sincerely commend you for knowing that it is time to ask for help.

If you are unable to take medication or are afraid that it may harm your unborn baby then it is imperative that you find some other mechanism to manage your psychiatric symptoms. I would recommend that you consider the following suggestions.

If you have not done so already, you should make your prescribing psychiatrist aware that you are pregnant. You should also inform the doctor you have stopped taking the medication and that your symptoms have returned. The doctor may be able to advise you about how to handle this situation. You should also ask your psychiatrist for a referral or you should, on your own, find a therapist (or another mental health professional) who can help you manage your symptoms while you are pregnant.

I would strongly advise against trying to manage your symptoms without professional assistance. Pregnancy has been known to exacerbate psychiatric symptoms among some woman who have a bipolar or a schizophrenia diagnosis. Because you have been diagnosed with bipolar and may be schizophrenic, it is especially important that you seek help during your pregnancy. I hope these recommendations help you. I wish you luck.