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Mood Disorders in Women: Focus on the Postpartum

Women’s Health in Primary Care

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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.


Dr. Burt is not responsible for links to external web pages or sites or publications that have changed or present inaccurate information at the time of review. These links are provided as a service to help educate patients about general psychiatric conditions and in no way should be construed as treatment directions or recommendations for any individual person. The hope is that patients and their families will find this information useful when discussing issues with their mental health professional.