Be vigilant for perinatal mental health problems.
Cristescu T., Behrman S., Jones SV., Chouliaras L., Ebmeier KP.
The postnatal period appears to be associated with higher rates of adjustment disorder, generalised anxiety disorder, and depression. Women who have a history of serious mental illness are at higher risk of developing a postpartum relapse, even if they have been well during pregnancy. Psychiatric causes of maternal death are more common than some direct causes of death. UK rates increased from 13/100,000 in 2006-2008 to 16/100,000 in 2010-2012, higher than, for example, mortality caused by haemorrhage or anaesthetic complications of childbirth. Postnatal depression is more severe than baby blues, follows a chronic course and may relapse outside the perinatal period. Although 13% of patients already have depression in pregnancy, the majority tend to be diagnosed after delivery; up to 19% from childbirth to three months postpartum. NICE recommends using the Two Question Depression Screen and the Generalized Anxiety Disorder scale from the booking visit through to one year postpartum. A positive response to depression or anxiety questions warrants a full assessment using either PHQ-9 or the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale. Bipolar disorder may present as a first depressive episode in pregnancy or the postnatal period. In the postpartum period women have a high risk of severe relapse. Postpartum psychosis has a sudden and dramatic presentation with delusions, mania, severe depression, or mixed episodes with wide fluctuations of symptoms and severe mood swings.