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. For further details about the findings of our pregnancy and childbirth research please visit our News and Publications sections. This research wouldn’t be possible without the help of our many BDRN supporters.