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Action on Postpartum Psychosis
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Anxious about birth

I’m due to give birth to my third child in a few weeks. I have bipolar and have had PP with both my other children, plus lots of episodes of mania and depression in between. I’m just coming out of a six week manic episode. I’m scared of how birth is now going to affect me.

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It's normal to feel scared specially if you already know what is going to be like if you are ill. But you can use your insight knowledge to your advantage. Speak to your friends and family and GP and put things in place ready to try and avoid major issues.

We are here for you as well. It helps to talk to other mums that have gone through the same thing.

All the best for the birth n keep in touch 😊

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Thank you. I’m really trying to put stuff in place - a planned admission to the mother and baby unit if a bed is available has been suggested- but my husband is reluctant. I am all for it. Also, my GP has suggested getting a night nanny to do overnight feeds some nights - again he is reluctant.

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Your suggestions sound very sensible. Try and speak to you husband. I mean you are trying to minimise the stress and upheaval of another episode. My heart goes out to you cause you are really trying your best here. Its so frustrating when your close ones cant see it but persevere ok?

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Hi Rainbow-warrior & welcome to the forum. Having another child after pp can be difficult as you describe but it sounds like you’ve put some great plans in place. Have you visited the MBU, perhaps with your husband to put his mind at rest? I know that from my experience that they are the best places and really supportive - several have online tours too that you could watch via YouTube if you both can’t get there.

APP also has insider Guides, including one for parents and also planning for future pregnancy which might be useful if you’ve not seen them: app-network.org/what-is-pp/...

Wishing you all the best and keep in touch if it’s helpful to chat. Take care, xx

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Thanks. Yes, we visited the MBU about three years ago after seeing a perinatal psychiatrist for preconception counselling. However at that time there was no perinatal service in bradford where we live. I had pretty appalling psychiatric care during my first three pregnancies (I had a miscarriage last year and have a 6 yr old and a 2yr old). The MBU is in Leeds. We lived about 20 metres from the border between Leeds and Bradford at the time so it was incredibly frustrating that I wasn’t allowed to access perinatal services except for one preconception counselling appointment. We have moved now to a place that has a leeds postcode, but comes under Bradford for health services. Thank goodness, Bradford perinatal services were set up about a year ago now, and so far they have been brilliant for me. They are still a very small service and cover a huge population, so they have a long way to go yet, but it’s a start. Imma doctor myself, as is my husband, so it’s even more frustrating knowing how things should be but are just not.

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Hello Rainbow-warrior,

I am pleased you've found our APP forum. Mums on this site have been of great support when I needed help. It is god to talk!

I have BP1, thus can relate to some of your worries. I believe you have a wealth of experience under your belt and no doubt your support system has been put into place. Communicating with all the health professionals, who will be of significance will put you more at ease. You know your individual needs best and birth and care plan can be tailor made accordingly.

I like Hannah's suggestion about looking into nearest MBU's. When I have had PPP in 2010 I was unfortunate as there were no MBU's nearby. However, I now have been able to contribute to the development of the Exeter MBU, which is not too far away from the South-West. I feel very passionate about MBU's, where mums will receive the best care and support together with their baby. There is the reassurance of best treatment and care!

I love your name, rainbow-warrior. I believe it probably says a lot about your approach to life, a true fighter! We are here for you in the background.

Look after yourself,

x

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Thanks. I chose the name because my little girl’s name means rainbow (Iris) and my son’s name means fair headed warrior (Finnbar).

That’s great you’ve been able to contribute to improving services in your area - well done. I’d love to be able to do that too one day. I get so angry about how badly managed mental health services are. I almost want to retrain as a psychiatrist but that would involve 14 years more training and I’m 41 tomorrow! I finished medical school in 2006 and I’ve still got a year left to finish my GP training - if I ever get well enough to do so.

At the moment my main problem feels like it is my husband and our relationship. Plus my relationship with his mum. They both have lots of good qualities, don’t get me wrong, but empathy is not their strong point at all, and neither of them understand why I get angry with them when I feel like they don’t understand me and my emotions. It’s so so difficult.

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Have they put lots of things in place for you for labour etc? When I had my baby they made sure I had a midwife with me during the whole labour. And I had a private room for after the birth and they had the baby at night so I could sleep. Have you got things like that in place for when you have the baby? Also I think the mbu would be a great idea. Iv heard you can actually go in the mbu before you deliver and then have your bed there for when you deliver. Good luck with everything. I know it’s hard but try to enjoy these moments 😘x

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Thanks. Yes I’m really hoping the MBU have a bed. And that my husband comes round to the idea of admission before then. Emergencies will take priority. And Leeds patients have priority over Bradford patients. Which seems unfair but hey ho

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Good to hear your update Rainbow-warrior and that the services are now there for you in Bradford. I’m in Yorkshire too and if you wanted to get in touch we are looking at having more face to face group meet-ups as part of APP’s Comic Relief funded project - I know now isn’t perhaps the best time but do keep in touch if you’d like and there may be some meet-ups in the area soon. Feel free to drop me a direct message here.

Take care and I hope things get easier with your husband and his mum too. Relationships can be tough enough without mental health concerns to navigate - an extra layer for some to battle through. But I have no doubt you are doing all the right things for your mental health and your family too. All the best, xx

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That would be great. How do I find out more about the meet ups?

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Feel free to drop me a direct message here, or my email is hannah@app-network.org 😊

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Hi Rainbow-warrior

Good to meet your here - happy birthday for tomorrow :) I don't have any comments really to add to the good advice already here but wanted to chime in and say I'm sorry to hear that, like most of us, you have been through the mill one way or another. It must be even harder when you have bipolar too.

I'm sorry you're scared but it sounds as though you have a good care plan in place with all bases covered, if your husband will agree! I imagine he's scared too as when we are in the grips of PP we don't realise how much we are changed for a while. Perhaps when your baby is born your husband might want to help with night feeds as it is very important for you to rest?

I had PP twice many years ago out of the blue when mental health was in the shadows. It's good that we can all talk about any worries here and find support. PP mums are amazing and I have at times met and shared a special empathy with such a brave band of mothers. Take good care of yourself and try to rest as much as you can in a busy loving home :) x

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IF you look at the Anxiety Support linked to communities online website - Agora recommends hypnotherapy. This may help your subconscious mind by blocking anxious thoughts. You would have to choose a qualified doctor who specialises in hypnotherapy who is recommended. As you have experienced this throughout your pregnancies, you are conditioned to an adverse reaction - but that does not mean to say there are other factors which are not tested for throughout pregnancy and those are progesterone levels.

If you experienced bi polar symptoms before you had your first child, were you a sufferer of PMT? Sometimes PMT sufferers may continue to have other symptoms, which are related to too low progesterone levels. You may help your progesterone levels naturally by eating sweet potato every day, as it encourages the hormone to be created. Supplements are not given nowadays which is a shame, but if you have a gynaecologist who knows about your problems, he she might be able to help. Take care.

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Hi Rainbow-warrior

It sounds as though you have good plans in place and it’s great to read that you have better services available to you this time around.

An admission to an MBU seems a good option - I hope your husband can support that idea if it’s what you want to do, hopefully everything will come together once the baby arrives. I do hope all goes smoothly.

Wishing you positive thoughts and strength for the weeks ahead, and a happy birthday for tomorrow!

Jenny x

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I wonder why your husband is unsure about admission? Maybe you could delve deeper into why he doesn't like that idea. Crosses my mind that it may be about his own anxieties as I'm imagining that would leave him alone in charge of your other 2?

I had PP 3 years ago and although i don't have bipolar I'm still worried about the prospect of having another child because of the strain the whole thing put on my marriage the first time. But I'm hopeful that if it happens i'll be forewarned which will make it easier. My personal reaction would be to want to do everything possible to relieve the strain on me after having a new baby and having my husband on board would be essential for that so I really feel for you as you're thinking you're not on the same page.

I'm married to (and the daughter of) a GP so can also recognise that sometimes medics are not the ideal people to support you through an illness, ironically.

Really hope that you are able to find some peace. You've got through it twice before and it sounds like you'll have much better psych help this time. Plus you sound like you're being really thoughtful and planning as well as you can. I know for me sometimes it's just about recognising what you can do and accepting the bits you can't control and trying to ride them out... so much easier to say than to do.... I'm having an anxiety resurgence lately so re-learning all this again for umpteenth time!

Best wishes

Hazello

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Such great support from a lot of mums dearest Rainbow-warrior & wishing you a very happy birthday. too.

Because of my anxiety and fears, which is part of my "BP spectrum identity" I am on a therapeutic path in order to manage life and combat triggers with coping strategies. Reiki, Yoga and Meditation really works for me. These are techniques you can learn and develop, whether you are pregnant, with baby or on your own...

Because of your medical background I am sure you will have explored various avenues and will work something out, which is going to be suitable for you.

I am so happy that peer support is furthermore evolving with APP...something I am trying to develop in the South West in a much smaller format through art and creativity. I really hope you will be able to connect with Hannah and other mums.

Look after yourself,

x

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You should take fish oil capsules even 5 x 1000mg per day will do you no harm , just the ordinary fish oil though not the cod liver

Also flaxseed oil a desert spoonful a day will help - both help bc the omega 3 from these products turn into serotonin in the brain

Bipolar disorder is when the balance of serotonin - which is calming - is outweighed by dopamine - which is excititory

My husband has bipolar disorder type 1 and he got our GP to stop all his med so now I have to give him 5htp to stop manic episodes luckily you can buy it in Boots and Holland and barrett also taurine is calming and GABA

Foods that contain high amounts of dopamine are apples oranges and beans

I hope it all goes OK for you after the birth eat plenty of omega 3 rich food like salmon and get your husband to buy you some 5htp but use moderately

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Food supplements and alternative medicines can be really helpful. It is important though to check with your GP / psychiatrist as to whether anything is incompatible with other medication you may be taking , for example 5htp isn’t safe to take if you are taking an anti depressant webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingre...

Take care rainbow warrior and I hope all goes well for you in your pregnancy, it’s good you’ve found us!

Ellie

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Hello Rainbow-warrior

Just wondering how you are and hope you have lots of support around you. Take care. x

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