Sometimes, due to existing factors, there are increased chances of puerperal psychosis in women. These can potentially lead to a shift in mood and consequently to dull and gloomy times. These are initial times to take note of by the family members, as well as ask the pregnant women about her family history.
Following are elements that can possibly intensify the risks of puerperal psychosis:
- Family history of bipolar disorder. This is a genetic disorder that runs in the family.
- Family mental history of schizophrenia or pre-condition of schizophrenia
- Puerperal psychosis or depression during the first pregnancy
- If the pregnant woman concerned has stopped taking her medication for any other mental issue
Treatments for Puerperal Psychosis
There are multiple ways of going about the treatment for puerperal psychosis. These are in-the-hospital treatment, medication to be taken at home, therapy, and ECT.
In the hospital
Since puerperal psychosis is detected within the first three weeks of delivery, this course of treatment can begin right from the hospital.
If caught in time, then the baby and mother could be kept in separate wards till the mother stabilizes. This does not mean that the two will be kept far for a long time. Mothers will get to meet their babies every day.
There are different types of medications used to treat puerperal psychosis. These are antipsychotic drugs, antidepressants, and mood stabilizers. They are used and customized on the basis of conditions. Please consult a doctor before taking any of the three.
Psychotherapy is the most common method of treatment for mental conditions like puerperal psychosis. Conversation with a neutral person can help resolve a lot of unspoken issues, and thereby bring about a change in behavior. Before opting for medication, ask your doctor if psychotherapy should be the first step towards mental healing.
ECT or Electroconvulsive therapy
This process involves using electromagnetic stimulation to balance brain chemicals that have disordered. Though, this is the last option and is only used in extremely severe depression or psychotic cases.
As the family of the new mother along with the husband should always pay attention to her. This will help notice any signs of the oncoming puerperal psychosis and catch it at an early stage.
Therefore, look for anything unusual during the delivery and make sure to report it to the concerned doctor. This will keep both the mother and child safe.
Learn more about managing the postpartum period here.