Prevalence of Bipolar Disorder in Perinatal Women: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Grace A. Masters, BSa,*; Julie Hugunin, BSa; Lulu Xu, MD, MSa; Christine M. Ulbricht, PhDa,b; Tiffany A. Moore Simas, MD, MPH, MEda; Jean Y. Ko, PhDc,d; and Nancy Byatt, DO, MS, MBAa

Published: July 13, 2022


Objective: To estimate overall prevalence of bipolar disorder (BD) and the prevalence and timing of bipolar-spectrum mood episodes in perinatal women.

Data Sources: Databases (PubMed, Scopus, PsycINFO, CINAHL, Cochrane, were searched from inception to March 2020.

Study Selection: Included studies were original research in English that had (1) populations of perinatal participants (pregnant or within 12 months postpartum), aged ≥ 18 years, and (2) a screening/diagnostic tool for BD. Search terms described the population (eg, perinatal), illness (eg, bipolar disorder), and detection (eg, screen, identify).

Data Extraction: Study design data, rates, and timing of positive screens/diagnoses and mood episodes were extracted by 3 independent reviewers. Pooled prevalences were estimated using random-effects meta-analyses.

Results: Twenty-two articles were included in qualitative review and 12 in the meta-analysis. In women with no known psychiatric illness preceding the perinatal period, pooled prevalence of BD was 2.6% (95% CI, 1.2%–4.5%) and prevalence of bipolar-spectrum mood episodes (including depressed, hypomanic/manic, mixed) during pregnancy and the postpartum period was 20.1% (95% CI, 16.0%–24.5%). In women with a prior BD diagnosis, 54.9% (95% CI, 39.2%–70.2%) were found to have at least one bipolar-spectrum mood episode occurrence in the perinatal period.

Conclusions: Our review suggests that the perinatal period is associated with high rates of bipolar-spectrum mood episodes and that pregnant and postpartum women represent a special risk population. This review may help to inform clinical care recommendations, thus helping to identify those who may have

Volume: 83

Quick Links: Bipolar Disorder , Women

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