In detail

Postpartum Psychosis, what is it and why does it happen?

Postpartum Psychosis, what is it and why does it happen?

Postpartum psychosis is a unusual psychological disorder that may occur in mothers who have just given birth. This problem usually occurs in the days and / or weeks after delivery and can be aggravated, so mothers who have these symptoms usually need to be treated by health professionals urgently.


  • 1 What is postpartum psychosis?
  • 2 Causes of postpartum psychosis
  • 3 Symptoms of postpartum psychosis
  • 4 Treatment of Postpartum Psychosis

What is postpartum psychosis?

Postpartum psychosis is a severe mental disorder that occurs when a woman gives birth and as in all psychotic disorders, there is a loss of contact with reality which can become serious, resulting in symptoms such as delusions or hallucinations. Although these symptoms can be alarming and both the patient and her relatives may feel a great concern, with adequate treatment and medical supervision, mothers who have this disorder usually recover completely within a certain period of time between six months to a year .

Causes of postpartum psychosis

This disorder is not very common, since it occurs between 0.1% and 0.2% of the population and usually affects women who have previously presented a history of certain psychological diseases such as bipolar disorder or schizophreniaHowever, it can also occur without a connection with other previous disorders.

Although the causes of postpartum psychosis are not entirely clear, the possibility that it may be enhanced by the great hormonal change that mothers may suffer after childbirth is considered.

Unlike in the postpartum depression which usually occurs after the third month after giving birth, postpartum psychosis appears very early, between the first and the fourth week after giving birth, usually becoming between two to three days after delivery and even during the last weeks of pregnancy.

Symptoms of postpartum psychosis

The symptoms of postpartum psychosis are very diverse and as in all psychotic disorders, there is a loss of contact with the serious reality that results in different symptoms. Women who suffer from this disorder usually have great excitement or symptoms of anxiety, depression or confusion. They can also present drastic changes and irritability. These previous changes include the following symptoms:

  • Strange and irrational ideas that can translate into delusions
  • Present hallucinations auditory, visual or related to any sensory capacity. For example, the person can start hearing voices that do not exist in real life.
  • Mood too high with loss of contact with reality, manic episode.

Other common symptoms in these types of disorders are:

  • Socialize and talk more than usual, with some verbiage
  • Show accelerated thoughts and keep your mind excessively busy with these thoughts.
  • Inability to feel union with the baby or respond to their needs
  • Trouble sleeping, even feeling that there is no need to sleep
  • Out of control behavior
  • Thoughts of suicide and beliefs that the baby would be better off without his mother

Some examples of the most common delusional ideas may be to believe that things are connected and that any information can carry a personal message, or that the baby is connected to God or the devil in some way. You can also think about harming the baby or herself.

Postpartum Psychosis Treatment

The treatment of this disorder is very important for the well-being of both the mother, the baby and her relatives. Despite how serious it may be, with good medical attention the problem usually disappears until stability is found.

Sometimes, although the mother may notice that she is suffering from a problem, she may not be fully aware of what is happening to her and not seek help properly. This can also occur for fear of having their baby taken away, so they may not communicate the symptoms they are suffering. It is common for spouses or close relatives to be those who feel alarmed at strange behavior and seek medical help. It is necessary that this help be presented as soon as possible to alleviate any negative effects of this disorder.

In these cases, the mother is usually hospitalized for a few days and medication prescription is usually common antipsychotics and antidepressants To treat mood.

Links of interest

What is psychosis? // blog / what-is-psychosis /

First signs of psychosis how to detect them? // blog / first-signs-psychosis-detect them /

What Is Postpartum Psychosis ?. Madeline R. Vann, MPH. //

What is Postpartum Psychosis ?. //