Action on Postpartum Psychosis

Wife recovering

Hi everyone, its been almost 2 months since i submitted a post here relating to my wife PP. Thaks for your support, it really helped me greatly. i did my part as a husband and today my wife is recovering. there has been a great improvement so far, and the doctors will wanna give her a 6 hours pass so she spend some time home with the family. Gradually she doing ok.

My question if we decide to give birth in later years will that happen again? my wife is 26yrs now.


9 Replies

The 'Thinking about having another baby' section of the Partner resource page at says the risk of recurrence but that the second occurrence - if it happens - is likely to be less severe because you can prepare for it. That was our experience.

Andy Henderson


Missed the crucial bit: the risk is around 50%.


Glad to hear things are looking brighter.

Not having another is something my wife and I have regretted, further down the line.

I think by going through it once you would pick up any of the signals very quickly and as Andy says, you can prepare for it and so can the relevant services.


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Such good news to hear your wife is doing well. You'll both look back on this nightmare and be able to talk your way through it and share experiences. Wishing you both the best. Having another child is definitely a big 'if'. But like you said it will be picked up much quicker. I myself decoded one child was enough as I didn't want to put my family through what happened again. But also I was 37yrs when I had my baby. Whatever you decide, you have got each other for support. Take care and all the best. Anna xx

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Just wanted to write a message (my first on here!)

I had a little girl in August 2012 and became very ill with PPP in the weeks after. It was completely out the blue as I had not been diagnosed with any mental health illnesses prior to the birth.

I recovered well but it took some time to feel completely "normal" again. We knew we wanted to have another child but I was petrified of getting ill again. The illness had made me so anxious afterwards, as I had had thoughts of harming my daughter (throwing her out the window, hiding knives and scissors, strangulation, suffocation etc).

Fast forward to now. I have just had a little baby boy on 23rd November 2016. I am completely ok, out of the risk period and couldn't be happier. He is 8 weeks old today. I'm very happy we have had a second as the experience is completely different to last time. No harming thoughts etc.

The things that worked for me were the following.

1) Preparation. Talking to the psychiatrist, midwife team, OB prior to getting pregnant. So I could talk to them about having a birth plan. It helped so much as we talked about how the illness progressed last time. There were signs that we missed as we didn't know. This time they could step in if needed much earlier. They told me the illness would probably present itself in the same way it did last time. We felt informed and ready.

2) Support of family and friends. We were open with everyone in our circle about the pregnancy, our fears and we asked for help from friends and family. We had lots of offers. Whether it was not visiting too much at first, practical help like taking our daughter out, cooking meals etc etc.

3) Bottle fed. I felt so guilty last time that I couldn't breast feed and I literally drove myself crazy as I wasnt able to do it properly! Struggling to breastfeed last time contributed a lot to my sleep deprived state.

This time I felt bad not BF but as a doctor said rather have a bottle fed baby than an ill mother!

It also meant my mum could do some of the night shifts giving me that much needed rest.

Other people could help with feeding which they wouldn't have been able to do if I had BF.

4) Sleep. This should be top of the list. Very hard with a newborn. But soooo important. The first few days I wasn't sleeping and I could feel I was going down a slippery road. I straight away asked for help. The psychiatrist said I needed one cycle of 4 hours uninterrupted sleep every 24 hours. My husband helped and my mum helped. Be prepared to go to sleep in the daytime or earlier to get that stretch of sleep.

I needed this for the first four weeks after the birth. Now I do all the night shifts myself, and it dosent bother me now. But for those first few weeks, I needed the sleep.

I would go as far as to say if you don't have family and friends to support you, save up and pay someone to help at night. Even if it's a couple of nights a week. It's for a short time and i felt it made the difference of me not getting ill.

5) Speak up. If you don't feel right, say straight away. Don't leave it to get worse.

I found it hard to switch the sleep switch on! The baby would be sleeping and then I couldn't sleep. This started to make me anxious as I just couldn't get to sleep. I realised that I was starting with insomnia. I spoke to the Dr and for a week I took Lorazepam in the evening to help get me off to sleep. I didn't need it for long and after a week I came off it. It helped get me over the hump!

6) Stop everything else. With my daughter I was stretching myself so much, trying to be a perfect superwoman!

This time I dialed it all down. The priority was looking after my son. Everything else could wait.

My husband and my mum managed my visitors! They cancelled people if I was tired. We were honest with friends and told them if we thought we were overdoing it. On the whole everyone understood.

7) It's a short time. I recognised these changes were for a short time. Life would go back to normal again! Some days it seemed very boring but I recognised my body needed to heal after the birth. I refused to feel guilty for becoming 'lazy'! My health and the baby came first.

It's such a big personal decision whether to have a second child. I was so scared and frightened of having those harming thoughts return. I was petrified of having hallucinations like the first time that it nearly put us off having another child. But I'm glad we took the risk. It's just we have to be more prepared than other mums!

I wish you all the best in your decision. Please ask me if you have any questions. Will be happy to answer.

Side note. I was 35 when I had my little daughter and 39 with my little boy. With the second pregnancy I took Fluoxetine 20mgs throughout the pregnancy. I stopped 2 weeks prior to the birth and resumed the day my son was born.

Many thanks,

Liz x


Forgot to say, it's fantastic news your wife is doing so much better. It's lovely that she has your support.

Wish I could you both the best whatever your decision is x


Hi Kojo12, good to hear your update. You have already had some great shared experiences here, and further children is a very personal decision based on a number of factors - not least of which any PP risk.

To share my experience, I had PP in 2009 and a 2nd child in 2013 and stayed well. My illness was completely "out of the blue" (although I can relate to a number of things mentioned by others, including Panda1977, from my first pregnancy and birth, which I actively avoided or tried to change in my 2nd). I also don't have any other MH diagnosis and have been well before and since. Knowing I have a risk factor is scary in some ways, although it is one that can be actively managed.

I think it's important to get as much information as possible to inform any decision - for example, we always knew we wanted 2 children and were determined to do this despite the PP risk. If you live in an area with a perinatal team, you should be able to get good support for your wife both on discharge from this episode of illness and also in any future pregnancy, even pre-conception counselling in some areas. When I was discharged from the MBU, my psychiatrist firmly advised me against having another baby "too soon" as she put it. What this meant in practice for us was being off medication, discharged from MH services, fully recovered and in the right "place" mentally, physically and in practical terms. So having a 4 year age gap wasn't what we had imagined when thinking of having children, but it was what we ended up with - and it's actually quite nice! Both my husband and I have siblings 2 years older/ younger and have lots of friends with children a similar age gap, so it was hard waiting, but the right thing for us with hindsight.

We also accessed the APP Second Opinion Service as had no other MH input locally until late in pregnancy. This was invaluable in getting specialist input, as MH teams weren't interested in picking me up unless I was unwell. It also helped the midwives and others involved, as they weren't very knowledgeable about PP sadly and didn't always see it as a risk, although it was a 50:50 as has been mentioned above. If you are in the UK, your GP or Psychiatrist can refer you and there is no charge for this, here is the link:

Putting a plan into place was also really helpful, and Dr Ian Jones' advice informed this, together with more practical things about sleep, feeding, meds, visitors etc. It helped us to think we were doing all we could. And the professionals also welcomed it and added a copy to my maternity notes.

I appreciate some of this is into the future, but hopefully it is helpful for you to know that there are things you can do, and whatever choice you make, it will be the right decision for your family. Take care and all the best with your wife's continued recover, xx


hi hanna h

I just wanted to say how helpful I found your reply to thinking about having another baby

I am trying for another baby now after having pp with my first child who is now 4 years old

I actually got my husband to read your post too which he found really helpful

thanks so much



Great to hear. Just to say I relapsed when everyone thought I was well, and didn't visit anymore, (stopped taking my medicine)so keep up the support. Each milestone brings different challenges including the four month sleep regression in babies. Then when baby's between crawling and walking it's another type of exhaustion and you need to eat a lot plus prepare Bubs food. My baby is 16 months now and life's a breeze in comparison to the first twelve months.


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