Assessing women for bipolar disorder

When assessing women for bipolar disorder in the perinatal period, a diagnosis is based on accepted diagnostic criteria (DSM-IV-TR or ICD-10).

Appropriate response to assessments is likely to involve referral for specialist mental health assessment. Urgent referral is needed when a woman has severe symptoms or suicidal thinking.

A woman with severe symptoms is likely to require admission into a psychiatric hospital setting, especially if she may be at risk of harming herself or her baby. Hospital admission facilitates stabilisation of symptoms and initiation of medications with ongoing monitoring by health professionals. Admission to a psychiatric setting with a mother and baby unit is preferable where available, so mother and baby can stay together.

Following discharge from hospital, ongoing support and monitoring of mother and baby by a specialist mental health professional is required.

 

See also… 

Management of bipolar disorder in the perinatal period

Things to remember about bipolar disorder