The perinatal period is associated with an increased risk of severe mental disorders. We summarise the evidence regarding the epidemiology, risk factors, and treatment of severe mental illness in relation to childbirth, focusing on bipolar disorder, affective psychosis, and schizophrenia. We discuss women with ongoing chronic conditions and those with the onset of new episodes of post-partum psychosis. Despite the importance of perinatal episodes, with suicide a leading cause of maternal death, few studies are available to guide the management of women with severe mental disorders in pregnancy and the post-partum period. However, general principles of management are discussed, including the need for an individual risk-benefit analysis for each woman.
Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.