Things to remember about puerperal psychosis

Some things to remember when assessing and managing puerperal psychosis are:

  • The possibility of puerperal psychosis should be considered in women experiencing mood swings, confusion, strange beliefs and hallucinations in the early postnatal period, particularly if they have a history of puerperal psychosis or bipolar disorder.
  • Following discharge from hospital, ongoing support and care of mother and baby by a specialist psychiatrist is required. In most instances, the woman will need to be supported and monitored on a daily basis, which may require drawing on family or community support services.
  • Minimising stress, maximising sleep and reducing stimuli are vital not only for the mother, but also her baby, partner and key support people. Where possible it is beneficial to advise women to draw on support from family members, friends, the community, and/or health services including in-home support or respite services.