Postpartum psychosis

Authors

  • Arianna Di Florio MD PhD,

    Clinical Research Fellow
    1. MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics, Department of Psychological Medicine and Neurology, School of Medicine, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK
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  • Sue Smith MBBCh MRCPsych,

    Consultant Perinatal Psychiatrist
    1. Cardiff Mother and Baby Unit, Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, Cardiff, UK
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  • Ian Jones MRCPsych PhD

    Reader in Perinatal Psychiatry, Corresponding author
    1. MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics, Department of Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neurosciences, School of Medicine, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK
    • MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics, Department of Psychological Medicine and Neurology, School of Medicine, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK
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Correspondence: Ian Jones. Email: jonesir1@cf.ac.uk

Abstract

Key content

  • Postpartum psychosis is a severe mental illness with a dramatic onset shortly after childbirth.
  • All women should be screened antenatally for the known risk factors.
  • Women with bipolar disorder have at least a 1 in 4 risk and need close contact and review during the perinatal period even if they are well.
  • Prompt recognition of the illness and rapid institution of treatment are of vital importance.

Learning objectives

  • To recognise women at high risk for severe postpartum mental illness.
  • To recognise and appreciate the severity of postpartum psychosis and the need for prompt assessment and treatment.

Ethical issues

  • Who should ultimately make decisions about taking medications in pregnancy – the clinician or the woman and her family?
  • What advice should a woman at high risk of postpartum psychosis be given if she is considering pregnancy?

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