by ALISON BRANLEY and SOPHIE SCOTT
More than 600 Australian women each year suffer crippling pregnancy-related psychosis, but many states do not have hospital beds to treat the condition.
An ABC investigation has found some states and territories are poorly resourced when it comes to helping women deal with postpartum psychosis. NSW, Tasmania and the Northern Territory are the worst, with no dedicated public hospital beds for helping new mothers with the debilitating condition.
In other states, advocates say there are few beds and long waits for treatment.
Post-partum psychosis, or puerperal psychosis, is the most extreme form of post-natal depression. It has long been recognised as a condition and affects about one in every 500 mothers. It can develop during pregnancy or in the months following giving birth.
Experts say there are a number of theories about its causes, including genetic predisposition, underlying conditions, hormone changes, sleep cycle interruptions and inflammation. Women who develop the condition often need hospitalising. In those cases, the best option is special care that allows them to bring their baby into hospital so they can continue to bond with the child.
Advocates have used Postnatal Depression Awareness week this week to reissue their call for better treatment services for women and children.