Postpartum psychosis is a severe perinatal mood & anxiety disorder (PMAD) with a sudden onset, which is usually within the first 2 weeks after childbirth. It is relatively rare, occurring in 1 to 2 out of every 1,000 deliveries.
Postpartum psychosis indicates a break from reality, in which delusions make sense and feel very real to the woman experiencing the psychosis. There is a 5% suicide rate and a 4% infanticide rate associated with the illness. Immediate treatment is imperative.
The main risk factors for postpartum psychosis include:
Most women with postpartum psychosis will need to be hospitalized (preferably in a Mother & Baby Unit) and treated with medication. This is usually an antipsychotic, a mood stabilizer or both. Some of these medications are safe for breastfeeding and some are not.