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How to Deal With Prenatal Schizophrenia?

Pregnancy and schizophrenia are two terms rarely clubbed together but when they do come together, the combination can be potentially dangerous. Prenatal care for a pregnant woman is a complicated affair. It is often said that sound mental health during pregnancy is a per-requisite to have a healthy baby. Keeping that as a reference point, prenatal schizophrenia in a woman makes her and her baby vulnerable. Prenatal mental health of a schizophrenic woman demands special attention.

First and foremost, it is something of a miracle for a paranoid schizophrenic woman to get pregnant. This is because fertility rates in women suffering from schizophrenia are very low. However, in the unusual scenario that this does happen, what is are the essential prenatal care measures to be followed? This brings us to the unique problems related to pregnancy and schizophrenia and also how to deal with them.

1. Unintended Pregnancy in Schizophrenic women: Most often women suffering from schizophrenia find it difficult to sustain relationships with the opposite sex. This suggests that most pregnancies in schizophrenic women are unplanned and thus unwanted. In such cases, pregnancy might go undetected for many weeks or even months. Whenever such a pregnancy is detected it is best to get a thorough ultra sound check up and blood tests done to detect any abnormalities in the foetus immediately.

2. Hormonal Imbalance: The surging of hormones during pregnancy can aggravate the symptoms of schizophrenia in the prenatal woman. This means that she, in a state of mental disquiet may harm the unborn child or worse, herself. This by default means that either would be mother has to be admitted in a special sanitarium where her prenatal care needs will be taken care of. Alternatively, her family needs to needs to be doubly vigilant with her to avoid any untoward accidents.

3. Smoking: It has been observed that a majority of women suffering from paranoid schizophrenia are also chain smokers. This is a very big risk for a pregnant woman with schizophrenia. The habit of smoking has to be curbed in whatever way possible. Options like an electronic cigarette, anti-nicotine chewing gums and other such smoke-deterrents have to used to control this addiction of the prenatal schizophrenic women

4. Medication for Schizophrenia: Most medications for schizophrenic patients like anti-depressants and tranquilizers have the potential to harm the baby. Alternatively, these medicines can be concentrated in the mammary glands and infect breast milk. It is better to use counseling instead of oral drugs as a part of prenatal care for a schizophrenic woman. If that is not possible considering the severity of the case, the mother must not nurse the child after it is born

If you have a history of schizophrenia and you want to get pregnant then visit a psychiatrist immediately. Discuss your medical situation and establish whether it is safe for you to conceive. Follow the advice of your doctor to have a healthy pregnancy

Story first published: Monday, August 1, 2011, 18:30 [IST]
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