Archives of Women's Mental Health

, Volume 10, Issue 2, pp 79–81

No ‘latent period’ in the onset of bipolar affective puerperal psychosis

  • J. Heron
  • E. Robertson Blackmore
  • M. McGuinness
  • N. Craddock
  • I. Jones
Original contribution

DOI: 10.1007/s00737-007-0174-z

Cite this article as:
Heron, J., Robertson Blackmore, E., McGuinness, M. et al. Arch Womens Ment Health (2007) 10: 79. doi:10.1007/s00737-007-0174-z

Summary

The weeks following childbirth are a period of high risk in bipolar women with manic or mixed affective episodes following 20–30% of deliveries. Although the vast majority of episodes have their onset within 2 weeks of delivery it is commonly believed that there is a “latent” or symptom-free period in the first few days after delivery. We examine the day of onset of clinically significant symptoms in 101 bipolar women who have experienced an episode of puerperal (postpartum) psychosis. We find no evidence of a latent period. Over 50% of symptom onsets occur on days 1–3, with over 22% occurring on the first postpartum day.

Keywords: Puerperal psychosis; postpartum psychosis; onset; pregnancy; bipolar disorder.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Heron
    • 1
    • 2
  • E. Robertson Blackmore
    • 1
    • 3
  • M. McGuinness
    • 4
  • N. Craddock
    • 1
    • 5
  • I. Jones
    • 1
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of BirminghamBirminghamU.K.
  2. 2.Department of Primary Care and General PracticeUniversity of BirminghamBirminghamU.K.
  3. 3.Laboratory for the Prevention of Mental Disorders, Department of PsychiatryUniversity of Rochester Medical CentreNew YorkU.S.A.
  4. 4.Mother and Baby Psychiatric UnitQueen Elizabeth Psychiatric HospitalBirminghamU.K.
  5. 5.Department of Psychological MedicineUniversity of CardiffCardiffU.K.