Medications for treatment of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders

Who uses medication?

There are many reasons why a parent may need or choose to take medications during pregnancy and the postpartum period.

Unfortunately, many parents don’t know that medication use can be a safe and viable option. Parents also can feel a tremendous amount of shame and guilt when considering medication use in pregnancy and lactation.

Needing medication is not a weakness.

Whether you are considering continuing a current medication or starting a new one, this can feel like an overwhelming decision. Talking to someone you trust is important.

Some people who can help you take the next step include your:

  • Prenatal care provider
  • Primary care provider
  • Doula
  • Home visitor or case manager

Local Perinatal Specialists

The individuals listed below have participated in extensive training in perinatal mental health, with specific focus on medication management.

Laurie Arndorfer, MD
Seattle NTC

Becky Schayes CNM, ARNP
Bellingham Natural Family Medicine

You can call the providers directly, or discuss the option of a referral with other members of your support team.

Regional Resources

Day Program and Reproductive Psychiatry available with Swedish’s team of providers

Provider directory includes specialists trained in medication management

Medications Perinatal Mental health

Things to consider when thinking about medications:

There is always exposure, be it to medication or illness.

This isn’t a parent’s needs against their baby’s needs.

There are solutions that benefit both the parent and the baby while posing the least amount of risk to both.

A parent doing well will lead to a child doing well.

Starting a medication is more than just a prescription. You should expect:

  • A thorough discussion about what medication(s) might benefit you, why, and how you will know they are working.
  • To review of common side effects and what to do if you or your baby experience them.
  • A plan of care so you know when to follow-up, who can support you, and how many times the dose may change.
  • Next steps for what to do if you have concerns once you start the medication or if you feel like it is not helping.

Online Resources

Two evidence-based and thoughtful online resources for parents:

Website offers evidence-based information about medications and other exposures during pregnancy and lactation.  Parents can talk with an Information Specialist directly via call, text, or live chat.

Consumers can call the center directly to receive information about medication use in pregnancy and lactation. The website also offers a ton of helpful articles!