Archives of Women's Mental Health

, Volume 16, Issue 6, pp 483–488

A prospective study of thoughts of self-harm and suicidal ideation during the postpartum period in women with mood disorders

  • Carley J. Pope
  • Bin Xie
  • Verinder Sharma
  • M. Karen Campbell
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00737-013-0370-y

Cite this article as:
Pope, C.J., Xie, B., Sharma, V. et al. Arch Womens Ment Health (2013) 16: 483. doi:10.1007/s00737-013-0370-y


Individuals with mood disorders are at higher risk for self-harm and suicidal ideation than other psychiatric group. However, the risk of self-harm and suicidal ideation after pregnancy for women with mood disorders is unknown. This investigation assessed the prevalence of thoughts of self-harm and suicidal ideation during the 1-year postpartum period in women with major depressive disorder or bipolar II disorder. Data were collected between June 2005 and March 2010 from a convenience sample of women participating in a study on the course of mood disorders during pregnancy and postpartum. Participant diagnosis was confirmed using the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV. Thoughts of self-harm were assessed using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale item 10 and suicidal ideation was assessed using the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale item 3. During the 1-year postpartum period, 16.97 % reported thoughts of self-harm while 6.16 % reported suicidal ideation. Further, those reporting thoughts of self-harm or suicidal ideation postpartum also reported higher levels of depression and hypomanic symptoms. We found that a number of women in our sample of women with a diagnosed mood disorder report experiencing thoughts of self-harm and suicidal ideation during the postpartum.


Bipolar disorder Major depressive disorder Postpartum Self-harm Suicide 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carley J. Pope
    • 1
  • Bin Xie
    • 2
  • Verinder Sharma
    • 3
    • 4
    • 6
  • M. Karen Campbell
    • 5
  1. 1.Clinical Research Coordinator, Department of NeurologyUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  2. 2.Departments of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Epidemiology & BiostatisticsUniversity of Western OntarioLondonCanada
  3. 3.Psychiatry and Obstetrics & GynecologyUniversity of Western OntarioLondonCanada
  4. 4.Perinatal Clinic, St. Joseph’s Health CareLondonCanada
  5. 5.Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Obstetrics and Gynecology, and PaediatricsUniversity of Western OntarioLondonCanada
  6. 6.Regional Mental Health Care LondonLondonCanada

Personalised recommendations