Postpartum psychosis can be risky for women and their babies if it is not treated immediately.

If you recognise any of the following symptoms, you may contact the Yorkshire and Humber Mother and Baby Unit:

Call 0113 855 5509 or make an online referral.

  • Recent significant change in mental state or sudden emergence of symptoms (e.g. unusual visual or auditory experiences such as voice-hearing; major changes in mood)
  • New thoughts or acts of violent self-harm
  • Expressing new and feelings of incompetence as a parent or feeling estranged from the baby.

A small number of women may experience a more severe mental health problem known as postpartum psychosis. This can develop quite rapidly, is most common in the first weeks after giving birth, and can involve unusual experiences or beliefs or major changes in mood (e.g. swinging between feelings of both depression and elation). 

Women who have a history of severe mental illness, particularly bipolar disorder, carry a greater risk of experiencing postpartum psychosis. There is also an elevated risk for women with a family history of these issues, including if a close family member has experienced postpartum psychosis, or if the woman herself has experienced postpartum psychosis in the past. Postpartum psychosis can be risky for women and their babies if not treated immediately, particularly if suicidal thoughts or unusual beliefs about the infant are present.

If you become aware of any of the following signs, an urgent inpatient admission to a Mother and Baby Unit may be required:

  • Recent significant change in mental state or sudden emergence of symptoms
  • New thoughts or acts of violent self-harm
  • Expressing new and feelings of incompetence as a parent or feeling estranged from the baby.

Postpartum psychosis can be a severe problem, but it is also treatable. For referrals to the Mother and Baby Unit, please visit the NHS web beds website and complete the online referral form. The Yorkshire and Humber Mother and Baby Unit can be contacted directly, call 0113 855 5509.