Action on Postpartum Psychosis
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Weight Gain

Having suffered PP twice and taken numerous anti-psychotic drugs and had ECT my body has changed dramatically over a span of twenty plus years. From a dress size 10 to a dress size 23-24! I appreciate lifestyle, diet have an impact but seriously does anyone else believe meds and ECT may play a part?

I haven't been on tablets for two years now and my weight has stayed the same!

7 Replies

Hello scissorsister

Thanks for coming to the forum. Weight gain seems to have been an issue for many of us. I don't know if you have looked around the site but there's a post from a while ago from Andrea asking "Was your body weight an issue during your PP experience? There are quite a few interesting replies, although I know you are asking about after PP.

I also had lots of medications during my PP episodes which were 30 plus years ago. The most effective treatment though seemed to be ECT. I did comment in Andrea's thread that during recovery I felt like a 'blob' especially if I saw my reflection. Also some mums said when they came off certain medications their weight stayed the same.

I'm not sure if medications and ECT play a part in weight gain but I'm thankful that I recovered. I think all these magazines showing 'air brushed' celebs are not good. As long as I feel healthy and exercise (mainly walking everywhere as I don't drive) I try not to worry too much about my weight.

Take care.


Hi scissor sister,

I definitely put on some weight while on medication. I ate healthy foods and continued to exercise and still put on weight. I came off meds a couple of months ago and have lost most of the weight I put on. I also gain weight with the contraceptive pill so that doesn't help! I tried to not let the weight gain get to me as I was recovering and able to be a hands on mum again. Wishing you all the best.




I have had weight gain twice now with psychosis as the early days of taking meds made me really hungry - I seem to recall eating 6 crumpets for breakfast one day in the Mother & Baby unit (surprisingly nobody stopped me or any of the others who were also eating a lot). I put on 3lb in one week when they weighed me! This, on top of the pregnancy weight gain put me at the heaviest I've ever been.

The second time around I've noticed it is also to do with being at home more with easy access to food on top of the meds. I started doing Weight Watchers a few weeks ago after none of my clothes would fit when I was going on a rare date night with my partner which upset me. Tracking what I am eating made me realise just how much I ate when I was preparing my sons meals (one bagel for him, one for me!) and how much I ate his leftovers too. It's really tough at times not to be able to eat anything you want but works for me and I would recommend it.

Its a real shame that anti-psyc meds have such a side-effect that we have to deal with on top of everything else when we have little ones to give our energy too as well. I hope you find something that works for you so you can be happy in your own skin again.



Hi Scissor Sister,

I sympathise with you as I am two sizes bigger than I used to be. I was bi-polar in my 20's and I had PP in 1988 with my first child however I didn't gain much weight then although I also had ECT & various different mood stabiliser meds.

Then I had a relapse in 2002 and because I also had several periods of depression before my PP, my psychiatrist has recommended that I stay on anti depressants (amitriptyline) permanently . I read quite recently that one of the side effects of this drug is a craving for sweet stuff and I am debating whether to ask my GP to change my meds as I just can't seem to lose any weight. To be honest my sweet craving is, in my opinion, out of control.

Am having to weigh up the risks on my mental health of changing meds after 13 years versus the effect on my mood of being 3 1/2 stone over my normal weight.

I'll let you know how I get on but I think stressful times are also a factor for me as that is when I eat.




Definitely, after I had my daughter I put on over two stone whilst on the meds.

I have just recently come off tegratol and have lost nearly half a stone in the past 5 weeks, and I haven't been dieting just eating far more healthily.

When I was taking the tegratol I just craved carbs....and its really easy to do without both,

Good luck x


Hi Scissorsister,

Yep, I gained weight on the anti-psychotic (I took Olanzapine) and I haven't really lost it a few years down the line. I know it's something to work on but with everything else I have kind of pushed it onto the back burner somewhat... I've started doing a bit of exercise but still enjoy nice food and a drink or few!

For me, it's about balance and whilst I can't fit my little finger into my size 10 clothes I am in a much better place than where I have been, I enjoy my life, and I will work on the slimming when things are bit less hectic with 2 small children and work. When I had PP in 2009 I stopped eating completely and went back to my pre-baby size (and then some), but this wasn't healthy either.

Like all things, I think it's a balance and whatever works for you, it doesn't have to be something that will never change, just something that you can work on when you want to. I am personally happy in myself, I need to lose weight, but I will get round to it and the main thing is I don't have health problems from it, or the PP. I know that some people have found exercise really positive in their recovery but it wasn't something that ever figured in mine. I wish I had time for the gym, but perhaps one day!

I'd agree though that meds are a big part of how I put weight on. How I lose it will be the next challenge! Take care, xx


Hi scissorsister

I'm recovering (slowly) from my second episode of PP at the moment and after almost being only a stone away from my goal weight, I am now almost back to my weight before I had my son!

I know the reason for this is mainly immense comfort eating and a lack of exercise so I'm going to try to make small changes to help, starting today.

I'm going to keep a food diary, make sure I eat breakfast (most important meal of the day), eat with my daughter up the table and try to only have healthy snacks (fruit, nuts, yogurt etc) rather than cakes, biscuits, crisps or chocolate.

Eventually I will walk my daughter to nursery rather than drive and in a few months (maybe in the new year) I hope to look to join a gym (that has a crèche) so I can go swimming and get some all important "me time".

However, I'm not going to put too much pressure on myself or let it take over my life, as I already have two gorgeous children who take up the majority of my time! :)

I'm sure the GP may also have some advice for me and I'm going to see him today to do with my son anyway so could ask. There's also an option of finding a dieting buddy or joining weight watchers/slimming world.

Ultimately, do what works for you and don't get too hung up on what the scales say... eating more healthily and getting out for a walk each day are a good start!

Good luck and keep smiling :) xxx


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