Use of Antipsychotic Drugs During Pregnancy

  • Hannah K. BetcherEmail author
  • Catalina Montiel
  • Crystal T. Clark
Schizophrenia and Other Psychotic Disorders (J Csernansky, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Schizophrenia and Other Psychotic Disorders


Purpose of review

Antipsychotics are frequently prescribed to women of childbearing age and are increasingly prescribed during pregnancy. A small, but growing, body of research on implications for pregnancy and infant outcomes is available to inform the risks and benefits of in utero exposure to antipsychotics. This review examines the existing published research on the use of common typical and atypical antipsychotics in pregnancy and the implications for pregnancy and infant outcomes.

Recent findings

The majority of studies do not show associations with major malformations and antipsychotic use in pregnancy, with the possible exception of risperidone. There is concern that atypical antipsychotics may be associated with gestational diabetes. Metabolic changes during pregnancy may necessitate dose adjustments.


In general, it is recommended that women who need to take an antipsychotic during pregnancy continue the antipsychotic that has been most effective for symptom remission. Further study on risperidone is needed to better understand its association with malformations, and it is not considered a first-line agent for use during pregnancy.


Antipsychotic Neuroleptic Pregnancy Lactation Breastfeeding 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Dr. Clark reports grants from NICHD-K23 grant, during the conduct of the study, and Miller Medical Communications as a speaker for CME activities on postpartum depression.

Hannah K. Betcher and Catalina Montiel declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.

References and Recommended Reading

Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hannah K. Betcher
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Catalina Montiel
    • 1
  • Crystal T. Clark
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryNorthwestern University Feinberg School of MedicineChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Mayo ClinicRochesterUSA
  3. 3.Department of Obstetrics and GynecologyNorthwestern Feinberg School of MedicineChicagoUSA

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