Postpartum Psychosis is a severe but treatable form of mental illness that can happen after having a baby.

It affects thousands of women and birthing people in the UK each year, occurring in about 1 to 2 in every 1000 women (0.1 – 0.2%) who have a baby. It begins suddenly in the days or weeks after giving birth and the symptoms can vary and change very quickly. They can include high mood changes (feeling very low or high in mood), confusion, hallucinations (hearing, seeing, feeling, tasting or smelling things that are not there) and delusions (strange beliefs that could not be true, but which feel very believable at the time).

Postpartum psychosis is treated as a medical emergency, and people are encouraged to seek help as quickly as possible.

Postpartum psychosis can happen to any woman. It can happen ‘out of the blue’ to mums who have not experienced significant mental health problems before.

Some women may be at higher risk, for example those who have a history of bipolar disorder.

It can be a very frightening experience for women, their partners, friends and family, but the good news is that women usually recover fully after experiencing postpartum psychosis. Women do return to their normal selves and are able to be the mothers they want to be. There is no evidence that their baby’s long-term development is affected by Postpartum Psychosis.