Current Treatment Options in Psychiatry

, Volume 5, Issue 4, pp 425–440 | Cite as

Management of Bipolar Disease in Pregnancy and Lactation

  • Carol Swetlik
  • Adele C. VigueraEmail author
Mood Disorders (C Nemeroff and J Newport, Section Editors)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Mood Disorders


Purpose of review

Bipolar disorder is a psychiatric disorder that commonly affects women of reproductive age. Many women with bipolar disorder require treatment during pregnancy and the post-partum period to optimize their health. The following review examines recent evidence regarding the risks and benefits of using commonly prescribed medications for bipolar disorder in pregnancy and lactation.

Recent findings

Current research has not found significant and consistent risks with use of atypical antipsychotics compared to other psychotropic agents, and some previously established teratogens, such as lithium, appear to carry lower risk of malformation than initially reported. Studies that examine the impact of polytherapy, however, are needed.


A patient-centered approach with minimal effective dosing of necessary medications is likely to produce the best outcome for optimization and simplification of the medical regimen for mother and child.


Bipolar Women’s Mental Health Pregnancy Lactation Atypical antipsychotics Second-generation antipsychotics Reproductive safety 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.

References and Recommended Reading

Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve UniversityClevelandUSA
  2. 2.Department of Psychiatry, Cleveland ClinicNeurological InstituteClevelandUSA

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