COPMI - Children of Parents with a Mental Illness - Keeping families in mind

Thinking of having a baby?

woman thinking of having a baby

If you or your partner have a mental illness you can be great parents, but there are a number of things to consider when having a baby.

It starts with your doctor

It’s important you feel comfortable discussing your mental and physical health with your doctor.

  • Find a doctor you feel comfortable with and speak to them about your plans to have a child and how you will manage your illness during pregnancy.
  • Ask them about any medications you may be taking and if they will have impact on the pregnancy or the baby in the short or long term.
  • Also discuss how your mental health may be affected by pregnancy- and the similarities between some elements of pregnancy and mental health issues.

The right support

Talk with your partner or support person about how the baby will impact on your lives and the changes you’ll have to make. Think about supportive family members and friends and speak to those you can rely on for help and with whom you can share your hopes and fears.

It’s also a good idea to check out local support services for childhood preparation advice classes and to find out about the nearest child care and health centres. You may also be able to contact others who have had similar experiences from who you can learn.

If your doctor, friends and family are supportive, your confidence will grow and you will feel more reassured about what’s to come.

Staying well

There are three things you must do to stay well for your own benefit and for that of your baby.

  • Develop a mental and physical health care plan with your key health professionals 
  • Build up your support networks
  • Look after your health physical and emotional health

Medication, alcohol, other drugs

If you are on medication, have your doctor review it to see that it is still safe for you and your baby throughout pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Your specific medication can help you function better with your illness but it may also affect your pregnancy, the baby, or interact with other medications (even common over-the-counter ones).

Recreational drugs, alcohol and smoking can also harm your baby.  Discuss any of these habits with your doctor and get the support you need. You can do it - your baby deserves it. 

Guides and extras

See also




Need to talk to someone?

Are you a parent with depression or anxiety?

Help your family understand. Find out how to discuss mental illness with them.