Studies suggest that pregnancy does not protect women from the emergence or persistence of mood disorders. Mood and anxiety disorders are prevalent in women during the childbearing years and, for many women, these mood disorders are chronic or recurrent. Maintenance antidepressant therapy is often indicated during the reproductive years and women face difficult treatment decisions regarding psychotropic medications and pregnancy. Treatment of psychiatric disorders during pregnancy involves a thoughtful weighing of the risks and benefits of proposed interventions and the documented and theoretical risks associated with untreated psychiatric disorders such as depression. Collaborative decision-making that incorporates patient treatment preferences is optimal for women trying to conceive or who are pregnant. This article reviews the diagnosis and treatment guidelines of mood disorders during pregnancy and postpartum, with specific reference to the use of psychotropic medications during this critical time.
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