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Postpartum Psychosis

Friday, 1/23/2015

Preventing postpartum psychosis

What methods can improve the identification of women at high risk of postpartum psychosis and reduce this risk?

Why this is important

Postpartum psychosis is a severe mental illness with a rapid onset and a major impact on the woman and her ability to care for her baby. It is associated with an increased risk of mortality in both the woman and her baby. Prophylactic treatment can be effective for women who are known to be at high risk, but for some women postpartum psychosis may be their first episode of severe mental illness. Better identification of women at high risk and a greater understanding of prophylactic and acute treatment would have a significant impact on maternal and child welfare, and on service costs.

The question should be addressed by a programme of research into the prevention, treatment and management of postpartum psychosis comprising:

•The development of a tool for routine clinical use to improve the identification of women at high risk of developing postpartum psychosis. This should be tested in a prospective cohort study.

•The development of a set of interventions intended to prevent the onset of postpartum psychosis and a method for their effective and efficient delivery.

•The testing of the clinical and cost effectiveness of the interventions in a large scale randomised controlled trial.

•The development and testing of a programme for the implementation of an effective strategy for preventing and identifying postpartum psychosis.

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