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Aust J Gen Pract. 2018 Apr;47(4):200-203.

Infants of emotionally dysregulated or borderline personality disordered mothers: Issues and management in primary care

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MD, PhD, Presidente SIP, Chair Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Groupe Hospitalier du Havre, University Rouen-Normandie France,
MBBS, FRANZCP, DipPsychother, Medical Unit Head, Helen Mayo House, Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Services, Women@s and Children@s Health Network, SA; Clinical Senior Lecturer, Department of Psychiatry, University of Adelaide, SA.



Knowledge has increased regarding the developmental needs and capabilities of infants, and parental behaviours that support optimum infant development. Despite a better understanding of the emotional dysregulation in borderline personality disorder (BPD) and its effects on infants, general practitioners have had few guidelines for how to recognise and help emotionally dysregulated mother-infant dyads.


This article focuses on the behaviours and needs of infants whose mothers have BPD, including knowledge and skills for primary care practitioners to help these troubled families.


Understanding the adequacy of parenting and troubling infant signs, such as hypervigilance, can potentially lead to either more intervention in primary care, including support, reassurance, guidance regarding development and interaction, and enhanced family support or else specialist referral for enhanced infant care. Infants’ needs are urgent, and timely intervention can begin a better life trajectory for infant and mother.

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