Bipolar disorder, pregnancy and childbirth

For women with bipolar disorder, childbirth can be a high risk time of recurrence of mood disorder. Admission to psychiatric hospital with an episode of bipolar disorder is 23 times more likely in the month following delivery compared to any other time in a woman’s life.

Unfortunately, the specific causes and triggers of mood episodes that occur in relation to childbirth are not well understood. However, we know that genetic factors, the big hormonal changes that occur after having a baby and sleep disruption may play an important role.

For many years our research group has had a particular interest in finding out more about the factors that make women with bipolar disorder more or less likely to experience episodes of illness in relation to childbirth.

We are currently carrying out research that we hope will lead to better prediction and treatments of these episodes.

Who is invited to participate?

We would be delighted to hear from you if:

You have bipolar disorder and are pregnant


You have bipolar disorder and have ever experienced an episode of postpartum psychosis or any other mood episode following childbirth that required hospital or home treatment

What does taking part involve?

Taking part in our research will involve an interview lasting around an hour and a half and we may ask if you would be willing to provide a small blood sample.

If you are pregnant we will contact you again by telephone 3 months after childbirth to ask you about any symptoms you have experienced in relation to pregnancy and childbirth.

If you would like further information about taking part, please get in touch using the ‘contact us’ box on this page or by emailing us at