Postnatal psychosis (also known as postpartum or puerperal psychosis) is a rare mental health condition that affects a small number of women (one or two in every 1000 mothers) in the first days or weeks after childbirth. For more really useful information on postpartum psychosis see the APP Network.
Postnatal psychosis is very serious as the mother may be at risk of harming herself or others, including her baby or other children. Recognising symptoms and seeking urgent professional assistance is essential.
Symptoms usually start quite suddenly within a few weeks after giving birth.
Postpartum psychosis can be an overwhelming and frightening experience for you and your loved ones, and it's important to seek help as soon as possible. With the right support, most women fully recover.
If you’re worried that yourself, or someone close to you may be suffering with postpartum psychosis, initially start by looking out for some of the symptoms listed below:
We know that talking about how you are feeling can often be very difficult, however, there is help out there. You do not have to feel like this. We hear that women often worry that they will be judged or seen to be ‘not coping’ - this is a common misconception. Health professionals are aware of how much bipolar can affect people can be during the perinatal period, and are able to support you and your family. There will be a range of treatment open to you.
Medication is an important part of the treatment for postpartum psychosis. It needs to be discussed with your GP and Specialist Perinatal Mental Health Team. Click here for further advice.
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Content adapted from Beyond Blue.