Perinatal mental health disorders

Perinatal Mental Health - COPE

The incidence of mental health disorders significantly increases for women in the perinatal period.

Derived from the National Perinatal Mental Health Guideline developed by COPE, the following sections provide information on common signs and symptoms, assessment, management and important considerations for the following perinatal mental health disorders:

  • Perinatal anxiety

Perinatal anxiety is very common mental health disorder.  In a recent Australian study, one-fifth of women assessed during late pregnancy and reviewed at 2, 4 and 6–8 months after the birth had an anxiety disorder.

Read more about Perinatal anxiety

  • Perinatal depression

While depression during pregnancy or early parenthood (i.e. the perinatal period) is the same as at any other time of life, the risk of this mental health disorder developing at this time is greater.

Read more about Perinatal depression

  • Bipolar disorder in the perinatal period

Bipolar disorder, which used to be called manic depression, involves both periods of feeling low (depressed) and high (mania).  While the cause is unknown, it is clear that bipolar disorder is frequently inherited and often linked to stressful life events.

Read more about Bipoloar disorder

  • Postpartum psychosis

Puerperal psychosis is also known as postpartum psychosis or postnatal psychosis. It is a very rare but severe mental health disorder that some women experience in the weeks after having a baby.

Read more about Postpartum psychosis