Bipolar disorder may increase your chances of miscarriage. But there’s no evidence showing it’s a direct cause of pregnancy complications.
It’s possible to have a healthy pregnancy if you live with bipolar disorder. But you may be more likely to experience a miscarriage.
Experts aren’t sure why the chances of miscarriage are higher for people with bipolar disorder, though. And while there’s a connection, having bipolar disorder doesn’t mean you’ll definitely have a miscarriage.
Miscarriage and pregnancy loss are hard for anyone to go through.
Fluctuating hormones can impact your emotional well-being, and miscarriage can lead to depression. And for people with bipolar disorder, this type of loss may even make symptoms worse.
In some people with bipolar disorder, the hormonal changes and grief involved with pregnancy loss may trigger a bipolar episode. If this happens, help is available.
Researchers don’t quite understand how bipolar disorder affects miscarriage. And while it’s unlikely that the mental health condition directly causes miscarriage, studies suggest there’s a link.
In a 2021 study, researchers examined pregnancy data from between 2010 to 2016. They found that women living with bipolar disorder had a higher likelihood of miscarriage than the general population.
While studies suggest a link between miscarriage and bipolar disorder, more studies will help researchers better understand how the mental health condition affects pregnancy.
A miscarriage can be devastating, whether or not you have a mental health condition. But may be even more challenging for people with bipolar disorder.
Having bipolar disorder may mean you’re more likely to develop depression after pregnancy loss.
And bipolar episodes are common after pregnancy loss, according to one 2021 study.
The study involved 919 pregnant people with bipolar disorder. And researchers found that a bipolar episode was six times more likely after pregnancy than during it. The chances of a bipolar event were 15.2% after miscarriage and 27.8% for women who had an induced abortion.
Pregnancy affects hormone levels which can impact your mood. This means that bipolar disorder symptoms may increase during pregnancy.
If you have bipolar disorder, you may also be more likely to experience pregnancy complications.
Some potential complications include:
- small or large gestational size
- early labor
- low birth weight
- higher chances of infant mortality or fetal distress
- gestational diabetes
- high blood pressure during pregnancy
Working with a doctor during pregnancy can help reduce your chances for complications. It’s also important to remember that just because you have a higher chance of complications doesn’t mean you’ll experience them.
Understanding and knowing about issues that can happen can help you be better prepared if they crop up.
If you have bipolar disorder, you can have a successful pregnancy.
If you plan to get pregnant, consider talking with a doctor before trying to conceive. They can help you determine which medications you should continue taking and monitor you closely for complications.
Your medications may be safe to take while pregnant. They may also help prevent bipolar episodes after pregnancy. But it’s a good idea to talk with a doctor about your medication options since some medications aren’t safe to take while pregnant or nursing.
Aside from taking medication, you may also find it helpful to:
- Reduce and manage your stress levels through exercise, meditation, or journaling.
- Get plenty of quality sleep each night.
- Continue therapy sessions.
Bipolar disorder may impact your pregnancy. But there’s no evidence that bipolar disorder causes miscarriage.
Still, you may have a higher chance of pregnancy complications. Knowing about them and working with a doctor throughout pregnancy may be helpful.
If you’re having trouble finding support or services for bipolar disorder, consider contacting the NAMI HelpLine at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) or email them at email@example.com for more information.