Background 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.
Objective 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
Discussion 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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