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First-Time Mothers at Risk for Postpartum Mental Disorders

First-Time Mothers at Risk for Postpartum Mental Disorders

AARHUS, Denmark, Dec. 6 -- A first-time major mental illness can strike mothers with dramatic suddenness within three weeks of delivering a first child, researchers here reported.

In particular, they cited an elevated first-time risk of schizophrenia, depression, and bipolar disorder in the 10 to 19 days after the birth of a first child. First-time fathers were not at any particular elevated risk for a first-time mental disorder.

The prevalence of severe mental disorders through the first three months after the birth of a live singleton child was 1.03 per 1,000 births for mothers compared with 0.37 per 1,000 births for fathers, according to a report in the Dec. 6 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The findings of an early increased risk came from a register-based cohort of 2,357, 942 Danish-born persons, followed from 1973 to 2005, in which 630,373 women and 547,431 men became parents for the first time.

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