Pregnancy relieves symptoms of bipolar disorder: Study 0
It's long been known women with bipolar disorder are at risk of a serious relapse after giving birth, but a new study suggests these women may improve during pregnancy itself.
The news comes as no surprise to Jennifer Mancekivell, 35, of Salford, Ont. The bipolar sufferer has had two kids since 2007 and said her mood was better and more stable while she was expecting.
"I don't ever remember feeling as good as when I was pregnant," said Mancekivell, who previously had been in and out of hospital battling depression.
The findings, out of Western University, may be a first step to understanding better what happens during pregnancy that relieves bipolar disorder, knowledge that might help manage and treat the disease.
"It may help us better understand bipolar disorder," said Dr. Verinder Sharma, a professor of psychiatry and obstetrics at Western University and researcher at Lawson Health Research Institute, whose review of research was published Thursday in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.
Some benefits may have been less obvious because of drugs used to manage the disorder, which some women stop using during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Sharma hopes his work leads to a more focused study on how pregnancy affects bipolar disorder.
The condition, which afflicts about one in 13 Canadians, sees some mainly suffer from depression, while others also endure periods of mania.
Mancekivell's symptoms returned after her pregnancies, but they were milder. She welcomes anything that sheds light on the condition.
"I'm grateful for his research," she said.