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Pharmacological treatment

When prescribing pharmacological treatments, the potential for harm to the foetus and the breastfed infant must be carefully balanced against the likelihood of harm to mother and foetus/infant if the mother remains untreated.

  • Select treatment based on the woman’s preferences.
  • Consider the risks and benefits to the woman and foetus/ infant of treatment versus non-treatment.
  • Minimise possibility of harm to the foetus or exposure of the infant during breastfeeding.
  • Involve a psychiatrist when considering prescription of clozapine, sodium valproate or lithium.
  • Consult guidelines for the use of pharmacological treatments in the general population (Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), Electronic Therapeutic Guidelines and Australian Medications Handbook).
  • Explain risks and benefits, side effects and any delay in onset of effect.
  • Closely monitor and have a plan to identify relapse early.

Due to the overall paucity of evidence, no absolute assurance can be given about any medication used during pregnancy or breastfeeding.