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Postpartum psychosis most likely in month after childbirth

Problem plagues about one in 1,000. Study of first-time mothers suggests reduction in hormone levels could be a trigger

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9:46pm, February 9, 2009

Mothers with no previous history of mental illness face the greatest risk for postpartum psychosis during the first month after childbirth, a new study suggests.

Postpartum depression is a common problem for many women in the days following delivery. But about one in 1,000 new mothers develops postpartum psychosis, a serious mental illness involving delusional thoughts, hallucinations and the inability to distinguish between reality and imagination.

The new study found that first-time mothers who suffer postpartum psychosis faced the highest risk in the first month after delivery, and that the problem can strike women who had no previous history of mental illness.

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