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Australas Psychiatry. 2019 Jan 21:1039856218822743. doi: 10.1177/1039856218822743. [Epub ahead of print]

Treatment of postpartum psychosis in a mother-baby unit: do both mother and baby benefit?

Author information

1
Consultant Psychiatrist, Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Services, Women's and Children's Health Network, North Adelaide, SA, and; Clinical Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA, Australia.
2
Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, Women's and Children's Health Network, North Adelaide, SA, Australia.
3
Psychologist, Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Services, Women's and Children's Health Network, North Adelaide, SA, Australia.
4
Director and Medical Unit Head, Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Services, Women's and Children's Health Network, North Adelaide, SA, and; Clinical Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA, Australia.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES::

To describe characteristics and treatments of mother-baby dyads affected by postpartum psychosis admitted to a specialist mother-baby inpatient psychiatric unit in Australia.

METHODS::

A retrospective review of medical records for all mothers with postpartum psychosis and their babies admitted to a mother-baby unit over a 5-year period was conducted.

RESULTS::

A total of 25 dyads met the study criteria. Affected women were found to be severely ill with a high rate of involuntary status (64%). They waited an average 4.7 days for a bed in the mother-baby unit. All received an atypical antipsychotic, with 16% receiving lithium augmentation. Infants were found to have generally normative growth and development, with relationship concerns noted in 5. A total of 36% of the cohort maintained some breastfeeding, and all had their infants in their care at discharge.

CONCLUSIONS::

The mother-baby unit enabled severely ill women to remain with their infants during treatment. While a minority of infants showed developmental concerns, appropriate development was noted in most. Future efforts should focus on determining the most effective treatments and further defining the risks and benefits for infants in mother-baby units.

KEYWORDS:

infants; mother-baby unit; mothers; postpartum psychosis

PMID:
30663319
DOI:
10.1177/1039856218822743

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