While the treatment of schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders has advanced over the past decades, the management of women with this serious mental illness, who become pregnant, and their babies remains a concern. The use of psychotropic medications is necessary in a large number of women of childbearing potential who have a serious mental illness however the use of psychotropics, particularly antipsychotics, may interfere with the reproductive process.
The literature regarding the effect of psychotropic medications on the reproductive ability of women is presented in this article. The authors have found varied reports regarding fertility rates and outcomes for this group of women including a lower rate of fertility, fewer children, despite being less likely to use contraceptives. That atypical antipsychotic medications effect fertility is outlined. Implications for the women and clinicians are discussed. Coinciding with the developments in medication management have been many changes in the delivery of mental health care and social changes which have led to women developing and maintaining relationships and wanting to have children.
Many factors may influence the fertility of women. Women generally prefer not to take medications if they are wishing or trying to become pregnant. Adherence to medication treatment may have implications in relation to this. There is little consistency in the literature around this, and little is really known about the fertility rates of women with serious mental illness.