Action on Postpartum Psychosis
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My 2nd pregnancy progress

Hi all

I havent posted in a while. My first son's 2nd birthday is approaching and that means its been 2 years since being diagnosed with Post partum phychosis. I still feel traumatised by it all and feel this is a sad time for me as im thinking of all the horrific memories. I cant accept the time i lost from my son as a new born. It petrifies me that i will become unwell for a second time.

So im now 22 weeks pregnant. Ive had awful sickness throughout. I now know its a girl. As far as i know all scans appear normal which is a relief. As this was an unexpected pregnancy and i was terrified the fetus may of been damaged due to medication. Before i knew i was pregnant i was taking sodium valporate and quitiepin. Once i found out i was then advised by my phychiatrist to just take quietipin as the fetus was already exposed to it and sodium valporate is not advised. If i planned the pregnancy however i would have been put on Olanzapin.

My mind is at ease that im carrying a healthy baby. But as you can all imagine i cant stop thinking of what if... will PP return for a second time? Its easy for my CPN (care co odinator) to tell me not to think about it. Ever since my last experience i have thought about it all the time. 2 years seems a long time but i dont think so. After being so ill and under going strong medication i was constantly tired for months and months after being discharged. So i suppose recovery is a long journey. Im on my way but havent quiet moved on yet.

My second child is due 14th march. I will happily update you all, especially for those interested for having more children. If i fall unwell again or hopefully can enjoy my newborn and be PP FREE. If anyone has gone on to have more children, i would appreciate hearing your second experience. Even if you did become unwell again, as i know i need to prepare myself for it.

Wishing everyone good health and happiness

Violet x

9 Replies

Hello violet

I've replied under your 'second pregnancy' thread as you replied to Maxi.

Wishing you good health and happiness too.


I was diagnosed with PP almost 6 years ago following the birth of my daughter. That time of my life is still very traumatic to me. I have been blessed to have found good resources to help me heal from that time frame, although I still daily deal with working to keep the chemicals balanced in my brain. I had another daughter 3 years ago, with my second husband. I too had great anxiety not wanting to repeat the fall into PP. I did loads of research and was willing to try ANYTHING to prevent PP. For me during pregnancy, my hormones were more balanced than when I am not pregnant... best 9 months of my life, every time. I have had 3 children. After my first child was born, I was depressed for just over a year. After my 2nd child I suffered through PP. After my 3rd, I did everything imaginable and succeeded in staying sane. To do that, every day during my pregnancy I took ReLiv products, a shake consisting of Energize, Classic, and Kids Now. I continued that after the birth, in addition I consumed my placenta. The first 4 days I had 2 shakes a day with 2 tablespoons of raw placenta blended into it. After that I consumed my dehydrated capsulized placenta, 3 capsules 3 times a day for 3 to 4 days, then 2 capsules 3 times a day until they ran out. I then used some progesterone cream intended for menopausal women, for about a week. After that time, I was past the worst postpartum. I had a large support base. I got lots of rest. My baby was a very good baby, low maintenance. The other 6 kids were great, I think I even got most of them out of the house for a week after the baby came home..... Hope this helps. My 3rd child has been a miracle, a joy. I was able to live that newborn phase again and have a healing by living through it and avoiding PP. I am grateful for the experience.

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Hi violet

It's good to hear from you again, and how you are doing with the second pregnancy. It's great to hear the baby is healthy.

I am sure you will get other replies, from those who have bravely decided to have a second child. I can totally understand how worried/scared you are - my son is 4 and I have not had a second child, because of the fear of becoming ill again. I think it's totally normal that you are scared and worried about that. I think it's a really difficult and painful thing to live with, that we live in different ways, whether we have second children or not (the fear of becoming ill again).

It sounds though that you have good professional support in place, and I imagine the more you take control (e.g. do a care plan which will clarify exactly what decisions you will make, and what support will be in place for you) will help you feel more in control and less anxious?.

take care, and please keep us updated, I really hope the sickness goes soon too X

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Hi. Thanks for your post and congratulations! I think if you are willing to take preventative meds, the chances of relapse are significantly lower and you know what it is this time and what meds worked, it will never be as bad as the first time.

I'm seven weeks pregnant so please keep in touch, we can share plans :-)

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Congratulations!! x

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Hello Violet,

I'm so glad all is well with the baby. Sorry you've been so sick, I hope it eases for you.

I'm 7 months pregnant and the weeks are flying by. I'm trying to be prepared for the worst but of course hoping for the best. I'll be taking medication after the birth, bottle feeding and trying to get as much rest and sleep as possible - beyond that if I do become unwell, at least we know what to do and who to contact. I've accepted that I can't control what might happen, but will try and minimise what we think are risk factors, have a relapse plan in place and be alert to any early signs - just being aware will surely mean it can't be as bad as the first time when we had no clue what was happening and like so many had never heard of PP.

Your anxiety is completely normal and in terms of timescales, pregnancy aside, I was certainly still thinking about my PP an awful lot as my son's second birthday was approaching (he's now 3 and a half and I was honestly in a much better mindset once that 2 year mark had passed).

I don't think the advice to "just try not to think about it" is particularly helpful, you have to process everything in your own time and that's all part of recovery. Of course you're going to worry about it happening again. Hopefully you can put enough plans in place and have enough support around you that you feel a bit more at ease that should PP strike again it'll be picked up straight away and you'll be well looked after.

Take good care, wishing you all the very best over the coming months and do update if you can.


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I think that we may have directed you to this before but just in case not, there is a really good guide by APP about planning second pregnancy on our website here:

it is written by women who have had PP and professionals and has so much valuable information about what to put in your care plan, factors to consider etc.

Also just to let you know, if you are interested and would be willing, APP are also conducting a study with women who have had PP or bipolar disorder before who are currently pregnant. Information about the study is here: under 'if you are currently pregnant'. If you do feel able to take part it could make a big difference for women in the future, to help find out more about PP and second pregnancies and so reduce the risk for women etc.

Good luck with the pregnancy, and do keep coming on here whenever you need to.

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Hi Violet,

I am sorry not to have come back to you sooner and thanks for your post, which I can completely relate to.

I had my daughter ten years ago and suffered from PP. Three years later I decided to have a second child and gave birth to my son in 2008. Thankfully I didn't get PP again. Phew.

There seems to be little rhyme nor reason why it happens once and then sometimes never again or indeed, why some women get it repeatedly. There is sadly no set formula and it seems it is an illness that affects women very individually. For this reason the psychiatric advice we all receive can vary greatly, so whilst it is invaluable to share experiences and stories, we have to be wary of any direct comparisons. The right approach to a second birth for some, might not be suitable for others.

I wasn't on any medication when I got pregnant and my psychiatrist's advice was for me to remain unmedicated until/if any signs of PP emerged. Like you, I too, was frightened and filled with 'what ifs.' At first I dealt with the fear by shutting it down and fighting it 'no, it won't happen again, I'm not going to get ill, I can't go through that again etc,' Then one night, lying awake, imagining the worst, I realised my fear was only my own way of thinking about it all and I decided I'd be in less of a state if I changed fear in to acceptance. This made a huge difference to me. "Yes, you might get ill again, there's a strong chance PP will reoccur. There's nothing you can do to change that, other than be prepared. You know you recover and get better, so in the long run, you will be ok again etc."

It wasn't easy and it took lots of practice but over time I managed to replace the fearful thoughts with accepting thoughts. I accepted PP might come again and once I did, it was far less threatening.

My midwife insisted that for the few weeks leading up to the birth and for the month after the birth, I was to be treated like royalty! I rested and ate and slept. Then when my son was born (I had a home birth), I was tucked up in bed and my husband, my mum and close friends and family did everything for me! It was bliss and yes, of course, I was still afraid PP would come back. I kept practising the acceptance and my most helpful mantra was 'don't project, one day at a time.' It was too overwhelming to think too far ahead. I tried to stay in the present as much as I could (Oh and a few drops of lavender oil on the pillow were also calming)!

My psychiatrist saw me a few days after the birth, then a week later, then two weeks etc until at six weeks, he said, 'I think we can be cautiously optimistic it's not going to come again.' And, it didn't.

I hope this helps and if there anything you want to ask me Violet, please go ahead. I will have my fingers tightly crossed for you and wish you all the luck in the world second time around.




Hello violetx,

It's good to hear your updates and that the scans have put your mind at ease a little. Any pregnancy after PP can be a scary time, and you are not alone in having these feelings. I had PP in 2009 after the birth of my first baby and then had another child in 2013. I stayed well second time around and it was such a massive relief, although I did have some anxiety which I think is pretty normal for any Mum, and especially so with the spectre of PP looming over us.

There are things you can do to minimise risk and I think our watch-words throughout were preparation and risk-minimisation. It sounds pretty dull for what should be an exciting and enjoyable time, but I was prepared to do absolutely anything to avoid getting PP again if I possibly could.

With my 1st child, I'd ended up with an emergency C-section, quick discharge home, struggled to breastfeed and things quickly went downhill. I was sectioned without my baby in less than 2 weeks before I got a place at a Mother & Baby Unit, where I spent 3 months, had various meds, a course of ECT and went home on meds which I took for 3 years all in all.

I wrote a care plan in my 2nd pregnancy and made sure that everyone involved had a copy, I wrote down my history, what might be triggers, what I would like to happen and what course of treatment I would prefer if I became ill. It was like the birth plan that a lot of pregnant women have, so midwives were also familiar with the concept - even if they weren't up to speed on the PP side. I also chose an elective c-section (such a different experience, I was just too scared that a natural birth would go wrong again) and had a longer stay in hospital. After an initial breastfeed for colostrum, we switched to bottles and I spent 5 days in hospital, with my own room, for rest and low-level monitoring. I also took a low dose of Olanzapine, the anti-psychotic which had worked best for me, and took this for about 3 months all together until we were sure that nothing was going in the PP direction.

As there is no perinatal service local to me, and the Community Mental Health Team had a big backlog, I didn't see a psyschiatrist til late in my pregnancy. When I did, he was very supportive and I had a contact through his team and he passed on his phone number for us to contact them any time if we needed it. I also accessed the APP 2nd Opinion Service and had a consultation with Dr Ian Jones, which also informed our planning and gave the other professionals involved locally the specialist input which was missing. It's great that you've got the psychiatric team input already, as I actually thought it would be great to be fully well, off all meds and discharged, so it was a surprise to struggle to get back into the system.

There's lots of good resources on the APP website, here are some links:

This forum has been a great source of information to me, as it was when I was pregnant too, and APP also offer a 1:1 email service if you feel that would be useful to you at all:

It may also be worth asking about whether you'd like closer monitoring in hospital, or even a MBU. I knew that if I'd become ill I would not want my eldest child to see me, so it would have been better if I'd chance to be away from home and get well in a more medical-based environment. Not everyone is the same though, and some people would prefer to be at home, and there may be treatment options for that too if you were to need it. Again something to write in your care plan.

It can be an awful thing to think of during pregnancy when we should be looking forward to a new arrival and all the joys that brings, but knowing that PP is not necessarily inevitable, it is just a risk, was something that helped me. And my over-riding thought was that it couldn't have been as bad as the last time if I had got ill, as people would know what it was, and we'd got through it once, so we could get through it again.

I hope you're getting good support and managing to relax and enjoy the pregnancy too as much as you can. Take care, we're all thinking of you and hope to hear more updates as and when you can. xx


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