Puerperal Psychiatric Disorders: A 6 - Year Retrospective Review at the Psychiatric Hospital, Uselu, Benin City, Nigeria.

  • E.O Okogbenin
  • B.O James
  • G.O Eze
  • O.E Igberase
  • J.O Omoaregba


Background: Puerperal psychiatric illness occurs at a critical time in the
life of a mother and her baby with deleterious effects not just on the mother but on the physical and psychological health of the baby. Not
much is known about the magnitude and the pattern of postpartum psychiatric morbidity in Nigeria. Aim: To determine the prevalence and
pattern of puerperal psychiatric disorders among patients presenting to psychiatric services at the Psychiatric Hospital, Uselu, Benin City and identify its socio-demographic characteristics. Methods: We conducted a retrospective review between June 2002 and June 2008 of cases with diagnoses of psychiatric disorders linked to the pueperium and extracted relevant data using an instrument designed by the authors. Results: About 1.7% of new cases seen during the period had a post partum psychiatric disorder. Depression (50%) was the commonest type of post-partum psychiatric illness, followed by mania (21.3%), bipolar affective disorder (12.5%) and schizophrenia (10.3%). Most had onset of psychiatric symptoms less than 4 weeks, were mostly young, of low socio-economic class and married. Conclusion: Emphasis should be placed on psychiatric complications in the post-partum period. There is a need to educate health professionals to detect these cases early and thus reduce morbidity.

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