News: Puerperal psychosis rears its ugly head

May 1, 2008

Almost three quarters of women who develop puerperal psychosis (PP) experience hypomanic symptoms by 3 days postpartum.

Almost three quarters of women who develop puerperal psychosis (PP) experience hypomanic symptoms by 3 days postpartum, according to the findings of a small retrospective interview study.

Researchers interviewed 127 women who met the criteria for an episode of bipolar affective PP developing within 4 weeks of giving birth. Seventy-three percent recalled experiencing symptoms by day 3 after delivery. Of those, 52% reported feeling excited, elated, or high; 48% reported insomnia or not needing to sleep; 37% reported feeling active or energetic; and 31% reported excessive talking or feeling very chatty.

As a result, the authors of the study recommend that women at high risk for PP episodes and their family members be counseled about these early signs and symptoms so that delays in identifying episodes of PP can be avoided.