Clinical features

Premonitory symptoms may occur in late pregnancy, but onset of frank psychosis is usually sudden, 2-14 days after delivery. Even in the majority of cases that do not have an identified physical cause, symptoms such as bewilderment, emotional lability, and perplexity are often prominent. Depressive and manic syndromes are commoner than schizophrenic ones, although mixed pictures often occur. The thought content, and any delusions or hallucinations present (for example, 'I am too wicked to be a mother'; 'this baby's body is rotting inside') occasionally lead the patient to harm or even kill herself and/or her child.

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