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About Postpartum Psychosis

Over half of mothers will experience mild mood changes after having a baby. Some women feel anxious, irritable, down, or tearful starting around days 3-4 postpartum. Called the “baby blues”, these feelings usually go away in a few days and do not need treatment.

 

About 1-2 out of every 10 women will experience postpartum depression after delivery. These symptoms last longer than the baby blues (at least two weeks) and include low mood, too much or too little sleep, appetite changes, fatigue, hopelessness, concentration troubles, and anxiety, among others.

 

Postpartum psychosis is more severe than postpartum depression and often starts in the first few days or weeks after delivery as depression, mania, or a mixture of the two before progressing to psychosis. Symptoms can vary widely and change very rapidly, even over the course of hours. Rarely, the symptoms start later than a few weeks after childbirth.

Postpartum psychosis occurs in about 1 per 1000 women who have recently given birth. It is much rarer than postpartum depression or the baby blues, and should always be treated as a medical emergency. Most women who experience postpartum psychosis will need to be treated in the hospital.

Causes