Medications for Improving Mood

Shot of a pregnant young woman having a consultation with her doctor at a clinic

It is common for pregnant and lactating people to wonder - Is it safe for me and my baby to take medication during my pregnancy or when breastfeeding? Many medications pass through breast milk but most have little to no effect on the baby’s wellbeing. For some people, taking medications prescribed by your healthcare clinician helps improve your mood. Your mood and emotions can impact how you interact with your baby. The first step before deciding if medication is right for you is to consider the risks of taking medication and also the risks of not taking medication.

Thinking Through Risks

Take a moment, look at the example below, and think of what you might list in each of these boxes. Some people find it helpful to take out a piece of paper and write it out to get their thoughts flowing.

Example: Mia’s Risk Chart

Risks of Not Taking Medication

  • I might feel too low to form a meaningful bond with my baby
  • I will continue having trouble sleeping which means I have less energy to play with the baby during the day
Benefits of Not Taking Medication

  • I won’t have to remember to take a pill
Risks of Taking Medication

  • It will take time for the medication to work and I may not notice the effects right away
  • Potential side effects, such as a lower sex drive
Benefits of Taking Medication

  • My mood will be better so I will probably be more patient with my partner
  • I will have more energy to take care of  myself and my family 

Ask Your Provider

Remember, you don’t have to go it alone. Help is available. Ask your COMPASS Coordinator, obstetrician, or midwife to provide guidance when thinking about risks. For most people in most contexts, after considering risks, the balance favors taking medication.