Postpartum Psychosis


What is postpartum psychosis?

Postpartum psychosis, also called postnatal psychosis is a rare mental health condition that some women experience in the weeks after delivery. Postpartum psychosis is very serious as there may be risk of a woman harming herself and/or her baby.

What causes postpartum psychosis?

The cause of postpartum psychosis is not known. A woman with a history of bipolar disorder (mood disorder), or who has experienced postpartum psychosis after a previous birth, may be at greater risk.

What are the symptoms of postpartum psychosis?

Postpartum psychosis causes changes in a woman’s normal behavior. Changes may start within
48 hours to 2 weeks after giving birth, but can develop up to 12 weeks after the birth. The earlier symptoms are recognized, the sooner the treatment can begin.

Women with postpartum psychosis may experience the following symptoms:

  • Unpredictable, unusual or dangerous behavior that is out of character
  • Talking quickly
  • Unable to focus
  • Appearing confused, forgetful, disorganized
  • High energy, not feeling the need for sleep
  • Feeling strong, powerful or unbeatable (like you can achieve anything)
  • Belief/s that are not based in reality (delusions) or seeing or hearing things that are not there (hallucinations), which can lead to the woman harming herself or her baby
  • Periods of depression (e.g. low energy, not sleeping or eating, feeling hopeless or helpless).
  • Mood changes in a short space of time and has a hard time concentrating

How is postpartum psychosis treated?

Treatment will almost involve being admitted to a psychiatric hospital to allow for monitoring and treatment in a safe environment.

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