Maternal Mental Health Postpartum Bipolar Disorder
It is common for women to experience mood swings during the postpartum period after giving birth. You may have ups and downs due to being a first-time mother, exhaustion, happiness, sleep deprivation, worry, or stress. However, if the mood swings fluctuate in either extreme – whether very high and or extremely low, then it may be possible that you are experiencing bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition that may begin shortly after birth and involves mania consisting of highs and lows moods of depression.
Symptoms of Postpartum Bipolar Disorder
Extreme melancholy and sadness
Unusual high upbeat and restless attitude
Irritability, touchiness, distractibility
Excessive and fast-paced talking
Restlessness, weepiness, crying
Loss of interest in pleasurable activities
Sleep disturbance – insomnia or oversleeping
Thoughts of self-harm and suicide
Causes of Postpartum Bipolar
Dramatic changes in hormones may cause postpartum bipolar after giving birth to your baby. You may be more susceptible to developing postpartum bipolar if you have a genetic family history of bipolar mental health illness, postpartum depression, and individual brain chemistry and physical brain changes. According to research studies, women already diagnosed with bipolar disorder will have a 50% and 70% chance of experiencing bipolar symptoms after giving birth to their baby.
Postpartum Bipolar Disorder Treatment
Scheduling a consultation with your psychiatrist, primary healthcare provider, or obstetrics & gynecologist specializing in women’s maternal mental health can provide the diagnosis and treatment plan and discuss the benefits and risks of psychiatric prescription medications. Postpartum bipolar disorder requires medical healthcare and mental health providers to collaborate to provide a team effort, including psychiatrists, psychotherapists, and medical healthcare professionals.
If you are experiencing these symptoms of bipolar disorder after recently giving birth, please do not hesitate to seek assistance from your primary healthcare provider. Physicians and psychotherapists can collaborate to provide a treatment therapy plan to help alleviate these extreme moods swings and help balance, calm and stabilize your emotions.
If You Are Experiencing a Crisis, Suicidal Thoughts or Thoughts of Harming Your Baby
If you have thoughts of harming yourself or your baby, immediately seek help taking care of your baby.
· Immediately call 911 or the local hospital emergency room
· Call National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK
· (1-800-273-8255) 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
· Chat at suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat.
· Contact the Crisis Text Line 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
· Text HELLO to 741741.
· Seek help from your primary care physician
· Call a mental health professional
· Reach out to your partner, close friend, or family.
· Contact a spiritual leader in your faith community.
Mayo Clinic, Bipolar Disorder, January 2018.
MGH Center for Women’s Mental Health, Postpartum Psychiatric Disorders, February 2021.
Postpartum Support International, Bipolar Mood Disorders, 2021.
JAMA Psychiatry, Onset timing, thought of self-harm and diagnoses in postpartum women with screen-positive depression findings, May 2013.
National Institutes of Health, National Library of Medicine, Diagnosis, and treatment of postpartum bipolar depression, July 2010.
Sage Journals, Bipolar Disorder in the Postpartum Period: Management Strategies and Future Directions, July 2014.