Nearly half of postpartum psychosis cases do not lead to long-term illness

According to researchers at Aarhus University in Denmark, up to 40% of cases involving postpartum psychosis do not lead to long-term illness. Those findings were published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

The study explored the experiences of women after first-onset postpartum psychosis (PP).

“Some women will experience severe affective episodes outside the postpartum period, while for other women their vulnerability to mania and psychosis may be restricted to the postpartum period,” the study’s co-authors detailed in their findings. “This meta-analysis estimates the risk of recurrence after first-onset PP.”

Recurrences occurring after first-onset PP are generally referred to as cases of isolated postpartum psychosis. While the findings found almost half of women are exempt from exhibiting long-term illness, most will have a psychological vulnerability associated with the birth but it does not require intervention.

For researchers, the consensus described in the findings were the result of thorough examination of several published articles, with sources including Web of Science, Embase, PsycINFO, PubMed, and Google Scholar.

In their analysis, researchers scoured through six English-based articles with patients in their first-onset PP within one year after childbirth, with a follow-up after 18 months of the first postpartum episode.

As explained in the findings, the examination of 645 patients with postpartum psychosis found that more than 40% of women were later characterized as having isolated postpartum psychosis, not resulting in a long-term illness.

“In this meta-analysis, more than 40% of women were classified as having isolated postpartum psychosis, which could be considered a distinct diagnostic category with a more favorable prognosis. The remaining women had severe non-puerperal psychiatric episodes during longitudinal follow-up,” the study concluded.

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