Australian Family Physician
Australian Family Physician


Volume 38, Issue 8, August 2009

Motherhood and mental illness Part 1 – toward a general understanding

Thinh Nguyen Suzanna Allen Jonathan Rampono Jacqueline Frayne
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Mental illness is common among women of childbearing age, and fertility rates of women with mental illness are close to those of the general population. General practitioners will see most of the women who may be seeking advice and management of their mental illnesses before, during or after a pregnancy.
This article reviews the current approaches to the management of mental illness in and around pregnancy, and provides practical advice regarding pregnancy related issues in women with mental health disorders.
The GP is ideally placed to give information and encourage appropriate treatment choices in women with mental illness. Given the multifaceted complexities, the optimal approach is holistic and collaborative. Specialist opinion must be sought early and a multidisciplinary approach with access to specialist care offered if possible. Continuity of care, especially in the context of a trusting therapeutic relationship, is considered optimal.

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