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Post partum - bipolar affective disorder connection


Mothers who experience a psychiatric episode within 30 day of giving birth have a higher risk of developing bipolar affective disorder. This is according to the Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA journals.

“Childbirth has an important influence on the onset and course of bipolar affective disorder, and studies have shown that episodes of post-partum psychosis are often best considered as presentations of bipolar affective disorder occurring at a time of dramatic psychological and physiological change… it is also clear, however, that a high number of women with the new onset of a psychiatric disorder in the immediate post-partum period do not receive a diagnosis of bipolar disorder,” according to the published report.

Researchers looked at records of over 120,000 women born in Denmark from 1950 to 1991. They each had a first time psychiatric issue. Each woman had a follow up and data was collected during that time. More than 2.5% had their first consult within a year of deliver of their first child. During follow-ups, over 3,062 were diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Once data was adjusted for family history of psychiatric illness the conversion rates to bipolar disorder were predictable: it occurs when a first visit for psychiatric evaluation is during the first month after giving birth to a first child.

“The study confirms the well-established link between childbirth and bipolar affective disorder and specifically adds to this field of research by demonstrating that initial psychiatric contact within the first 30 days post-partum significantly predicted conversion to bipolar affective disorder during the follow up period...” concluded the report.

Source: MedicalNewsToday, Archives of General Psychiatry

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