Postpartum psychosis - Postnatal depression

Postpartum psychosis is a rare and severe form of postnatal depression. It is also called postnatal or puerperal psychosis.

Postpartum psychosis happens within the first few weeks after giving birth. It can begin as early as 2 to 3 days after childbirth.

You are most at risk of postpartum psychosis if you already have a mental health condition. For example, bipolar disorder, schizoaffective disorder or schizophrenia.

Signs of postpartum psychosis

Symptoms of postpartum depression include:

  • feeling paranoid
  • having delusions or hallucinations
  • mood swings
  • confused thinking and associated changes in behaviour

You may also have other symptoms of psychosis and thoughts of harming yourself or your baby.

Emergency action required: Contact your GP or obstetrician urgently if:

  • you are experiencing any of these symptoms

They will arrange rapid assessment by the HSE Mental Health Services.


Treatment usually includes antidepressants and anti-psychotic medication and care from mental health experts.

Page last reviewed: 1 March 2018
Next review due: 1 March 2021