Postpartum psychosis is a very serious and rare mental health condition which affects around 1 in every 1000 women who give birth. It can also be called puerperal psychosis or post-natal psychosis.

Women experiencing this condition have hallucinations (hearing voices or seeing things that aren’t real) and/or delusional thoughts (thoughts that are unlikely to be true).

They may also experience:

  • mania – appearing in a high mood, talking too much and thinking too quickly
  • feeling very low or depressed
  • mood swings between feeling high and low
  • Loss of inhibitions
  • feeling paranoid, scared or suspicious of other people
  • feeling restless, tearful, withdrawn or irritable
  • problems sleeping and lack of energy
  • confusion

Often women experiencing this condition do not realise themselves that they are unwell. So it’s important for a partner, friend or family member to get help urgently if they think something is wrong.

Some women who experience postpartum psychosis can get worse and be in danger of hurting themselves or their baby. If you’re worried you should see your GP urgently (the same day) or attend your local A&E department.

If you feel that you or someone else is in immediate danger, you should call 999 immediately.