Can postpartum psychosis be prevented?

A woman's risk of developing postpartum psychosis should be assessed during her antenatal appointments so that if she were to develop the illness after giving birth, the signs would be spotted straight away and there would be a treatment plan to follow.

There are no specific screening tools for postpartum psychosis, but the antenatal care team should be able to identify women who are more likely to develop it and refer them to a psychiatrist for an assessment.

If you're at high risk...

If you've been assessed to be at high risk of developing postpartum psychosis, you may be offered a pre-birth planning meeting at around 32 weeks of pregnancy.

Everyone involved in your care would be invited to this meeting your partner, family or friends, a mental health professional, midwife, obstetrician, health visitor and GP.

The aim is to make everyone aware of your risk and to agree on a plan for your care.

Studies suggest that taking certain medicines in late pregnancy could help to prevent postpartum psychosis in high-risk women. You may want to discuss this option with your care team. The risks and benefits of medication taken in pregnancy should always be carefully weighed up.

You may also be given advice on what you can do to stay as well as possible during pregnancy for example, reducing any stress in your life, and getting as much sleep as possible.

You'll get a copy of your written care plan, which should include how you and your family can get help quickly if you were to become ill see What should I do if I think I'm having an episode?

In the first few weeks after your baby is born, you should be regularly visited by a midwife, health visitor and mental health nurse.

Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 21 Dec 2018