Anticonvulsants During Pregnancy in Women with Bipolar Disorder

Unfortunately the mood stabilizers most commonly used to treat bipolar disorder (including lithium and valproic acid) can increase the risk of certain types of congenital malformations in children exposed to these medications during the first trimester of pregnancy. For women who need a mood stabilizer during pregnancy, lithium is the safest option; however, when used during the first trimester, it carries a 0.1% risk of a cardiac malformation called Ebstein's anomaly. Although this is a potentially serious complication, it is important to keep in mind that the risk of malformation is relatively small.