Bipolar UK’s former chair of trustees Clare Dolman has just returned from Bangalore, India, where she attended the International Conference for Perinatal Mental Health Professionals.

Clare was one of two presenters among the 500 delegates from all over the world who has lived experience of the condition on which she was speaking. She presented her research on the factors influencing the decision-making of women with bipolar disorder around pregnancy and childbirth. She also distributed information on Bipolar UK, including our booklets on Bipolar and Pregnancy and Advance Planning 

Having discussed women’s views (including data gathered on Bipolar UK’s e-community) at the previous conference at Melbourne in 2016, this time she focused on the views of psychiatrists and their perspective on the difficult decision-making in this area.

This work is part of a PhD which Clare hopes to complete this year at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King’s College London.

“I feel very passionately that women with bipolar need good preconception advice - especially information on the safety of medications in pregnancy - as pregnancy and childbirth are times of heightened risk for women with bipolar.  Over 70 women with bipolar took part in my research and I am very grateful to them.  This is an under-researched area and we need to get involved to change that.

If you are pregnant or hoping to be so soon, do get in touch with me so I can signpost you to be involved in an exciting research project which will add to our knowledge and help women to get the best advice on how to stay well when having children.