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Background: Pregnancy and labor in areas with high maternal morbidities as in Nigeria could be sufficiently stressful to precipitate mental disorders in women after delivery, which may be a new or a relapse of previously existing one, or an exacerbation of an attenuated mental illness in the nursing mother. Mental illness in a nursing mother, if not treated may result in impaired mother.infant relationship.
Aim: To determine the clinical and socio.demographic characteristics of women diagnosed with postpartum psychiatric conditions in a tertiary mental health facility of a developing country.
Subjects and Methods: A retrospective case note reviews of 76 women diagnosed with postpartum psychiatric conditions for the first time in the Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital Enugu between January 2009 and December 2011.
Results: The mean age of the women was 27.76 years, with 63% (48/76) of them coming from the rural areas. 93% (71/76) of them had at least a secondary education and 78% (59/76) of the women had a family history of psychiatric disorders. Schizophrenia was commonest, 48.7% (37/76) followed by depression, 22% (17/76) and mania, 15% (11/76). Those presenting with schizophrenia were younger when compared with other diagnostic groups, had a lower level of education and presented earlier for treatment. The husbands were the primary caregivers in 48% of them.
Conclusion: With 63% (48/76) of them being rural dwellers, policy changes become imperative that would encourage establishment of psychiatric services in rural areas to ensure early detection and prompt treatment of postpartum women with a need for psychiatric services.
Keywords: Clinical, Postpartum Mental disorders, Socio.demographic, Southeast Nigeria