Women’s Health in Primary Care
Postpartum mood disturbances are common in women. Parents should be educated to expect postpartum blues, which typically subside without treatment. Postpartum depression, however, is debilitating and can impair the mother’s ability to respond to her infant, affecting the baby’s cognitive and emotional development. If untreated, it can lead to chronic depression or suicide in the mother. Postpartum psychosis is widely considered to be a manifestation of bipolar disorder, and it carries a risk of infanticide. Here Dr. Burt reviews the risk factors, clinical presentation, and treatment of postpartum mood disorders and considers the question of breastfeeding during treatment with psychotropic medication.