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Personal stories reveal postpartum psychosis dangers

Women are more at risk of severe mental illness after giving birth than at any other time in their lives.

In the worst cases it can lead to postpartum psychosis, also known as puerperal psychosis, a mental illness which affects one in 500 new mothers and can result in suicide or them killing their baby.

BBC Newsnight has spoken to people affected by this devastating but poorly understood condition, which often goes undetected because doctors and midwives can fail to recognise the symptoms.

For details of organisations which offer advice and support, go online to or call the BBC Action Line to hear recorded information on 08000 933 193. Lines are open 24 hours and are free from a landline. Mobile operators will charge.

  • 22 Aug 2012