Borderline personality disorder (BPD) in pregnancy

Living with borderline personality disorder can be challenging.  Having a baby makes things a bit more difficult.  That’s why it is important to get help.

How common is borderline personality disorder?

Around 3 in 100 Australian women aged 25 or more experience borderline personality disorder.

What causes borderline personality disorder?

Problems in childhood may cause borderline personality disorder.  This includes sexual, physical or emotional abuse or neglect.

What are the signs and symptoms of borderline personality disorder?

  • Unstable and extreme emotions (sadness, irritability, anxiety)
  • Efforts to avoid being abandoned
  • A history of intense and unstable relationships with people
  • Not having a clear sense of who you are as a person or how you feel about yourself
  • Impulsiveness (e.g. spending lots of money, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating)
  • Talking about or engaging in self-harm and/or suicidal behaviours
  • Ongoing feelings of emptiness
  • Feelings of anger that may be intense, inappropriate or difficult to control
  • Being paranoid or feeling disconnected from the world when under stress.

How is borderline personality disorder identified?

Talk to your doctor about your symptoms.  If you have five or more of the symptoms listed above, you may have borderline personality disorder.

Borderline personality disorder during pregnancy

If you are pregnant and have borderline personality disorder, it is a good idea to talk to your doctor or midwife about how you feel.  Also, tell them if anything about the care you are receiving troubles you.  It is usual for pregnant women with borderline personality disorder to receive care from a team of health professionals, including mental health services.

Support and treatment for borderline personality disorder 

  • A family support service may be able to visit you and your infant in your home
  • An individual therapist can support you and help you manage your feelings
  • Therapy for you and your infant helps to build on your relationship
  • Having someone else care for the baby (family or child care) gives you a break to look after yourself.

Find out more about managing borderline personality disorder during pregnancy.

Or, learn how to seek professional help via the COPE website, or find a health professional on the eCOPE Directory.

Download our Borderline Personality Disorder Fact Sheet