While it is well known that the risk of experiencing a recurrence of bipolar illness is especially increased following childbirth, we currently know very little about the causes of these episodes and which women are likely to be at greatest risk following delivery.

Though many women do remain well in the postpartum period, most expectant mothers still face difficult decisions about how to best manage their illness during pregnancy, in particular, whether or not to continue taking medication. Being able to predict risk of postpartum relapse, based on a woman’s individual circumstances, would clearly carry significant benefits when making these important decisions.

For these reasons, we are conducting an ongoing study into bipolar disorder, pregnancy and childbirth (Bipolar Disorder Research Network). Our research aims to learn more about the factors that make women with bipolar disorder more or less likely to experience episodes of illness in the postpartum period. It is hoped our research will lead to better prediction and treatments of these episodes.

Lead Research Associate for the study, Amy Perry of the University of Worcester said:

‘It is such a privilege to be involved in this important work. We hope our findings will be very beneficial in the future for women with bipolar disorder who are pregnant or considering pregnancy. So far, over 120 women have kindly participated and to those women, on behalf of everyone at BDRN, I would like to say a massive thank you’.

We do however still need many more women to participate in the study. If you have a diagnosis of bipolar disorder or postpartum psychosis and are currently pregnant, Amy would be delighted to hear from you on 01905 54 2880 or [email protected].

Further information about the study can also be found on the BDRN website