The global prevalence of postpartum psychosis: A systematic review

Rachel VanderKruik, Maria Barreix, Doris Chou, Tomas Allen, Lale Say, Lee S. Cohen, Kelli Barbour, Jose Guilherme Cecatti, Sara Cottler, Olubukola Fawole, Tabassum Firoz, Luis Gadama, Atf Ghérissi, Gill Gyte, Michelle Hindin, Anoma Jayathilaka, Amanda Kalamar, Yacouba Kone, Isabelle Lange, Laura A. MageeArvind Mathur, Affette Mc Caw Binns, Mark Morgan, Stephen Munjanja, Gathari Ndirangu Gichuhi, Max Petzold, Elizabeth Sullivan, Frank Taulo, Özge Tunçalp, Peter von Dadelszen, and on behalf of the Maternal Morbidity Working Group

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: Mental health is a significant contributor to global burden of disease and the consequences of perinatal psychiatric morbidity can be substantial. We aimed to obtain global estimates of puerperal psychosis prevalence based on population-based samples and to understand how postpartum psychosis is assessed and captured among included studies. Methods: In June 2014, we searched PubMed, CiNAHL, EMBASE, PsycINFO, Sociological Collections, and Global Index Medicus for publications since the year 1990. Criteria for inclusion in the systematic review were: use of primary data relevant to pre-defined mental health conditions, specified dates of data collection, limited to data from 1990 onwards, sample size >200 and a clear description of methodology. Data were extracted from published peer reviewed articles. Results: The search yielded 24,273 publications, of which six studies met the criteria. Five studies reported incidence of puerperal psychosis (ranging from 0.89 to 2.6 in 1000 women) and one reported prevalence of psychosis (5 in 1000). Due to the heterogeneity of methodologies used across studies in definitions and assessments used to identify cases, data was not pooled to calculate a global estimate of risk. Conclusions: This review confirms the relatively low rate of puerperal psychosis; yet given the potential for serious consequences, this morbidity is significant from a global public health perspective. Further attention to consistent detection of puerperal psychosis can help provide appropriate treatment to prevent harmful consequences for both mother and baby.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number272
JournalBMC Psychiatry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 28 2017



  • Global prevalence
  • Postpartum psychosis
  • Systematic review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

Cite this

VanderKruik, R., Barreix, M., Chou, D., Allen, T., Say, L., Cohen, L. S., ... and on behalf of the Maternal Morbidity Working Group (2017). The global prevalence of postpartum psychosis: A systematic review. BMC Psychiatry, 17(1), [272].