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Eur Psychiatry. 2011 May;26(4):215-23. doi: 10.1016/j.eurpsy.2010.03.006. Epub 2010 Jun 14.

Inpatient mother-and-child postpartum psychiatric care: factors associated with improvement in maternal mental health.

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Inserm, UMRS 953, Epidemiological Research Unit on Perinatal Health and Women's and Children's Health, 16, avenue Paul-Vaillant-Couturier, 94807 Villejuif cedex, France.



This study assessed the underexplored factors associated with significant improvement in mothers' mental health during postpartum inpatient psychiatric care.


This study analyzed clinical improvement in a prospective cohort of 869 women jointly admitted with their infant to 13 psychiatric Mother-Baby Units (MBUs) in France between 2001 and 2007. Predictive variables tested were: maternal mental illness (ICD-10), sociodemographic characteristics, mental illness and childhood abuse history, acute or chronic disorder, pregnancy and birth data, characteristics and mental health of the mother's partner, and MBU characteristics.


Two thirds of the women improved significantly by discharge. Admission for 25% was for a first acute episode very early after childbirth. Independent factors associated with marked improvement at discharge were bipolar or depressive disorder, a first acute episode or relapse of such an episode. Schizophrenia, a personality disorder, and poor social integration (as measured by occupational status) were all related to poor clinical outcomes.


Most women improved significantly while under care in MBUs. Our results emphasize the importance of the type of disease but also its chronicity and the social integration when providing postpartum psychiatric care.

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