Catatonia in the peripartum: A cohort study using electronic health records

Afraa Delvi, Claire Wilson, Iman Jasani, Joshana Guliani, Ranga Rao, Gertrude Seneviratne, Jonathan Rogers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Due to limited existing literature available on the presentation and treatment of catatonia in the peripartum, this retrospective descriptive cohort study aimed to examine demographic data, catatonic features, diagnoses pre- and post-catatonic episodes, treatment and the presence of obstetric complications.

Individuals with catatonia were identified in a previous study using anonymised electronic healthcare records from a large mental health trust in South-East London. The presence of features from the Bush-Francis Catatonia Screening Instrument was coded by the investigators and longitudinal data were extracted from structured fields and free text.

21 individuals were identified from the larger cohort, each of whom experienced one episode of catatonia in the postpartum period, and all had had an inpatient psychiatric admission. 13 patients (62 %) presented after their first pregnancy and 12 (57 %) experienced obstetric complications. 11 (53 %) attempted breastfeeding and 10 (48 %) received a diagnosis of a depressive disorder following the episode of catatonia. The majority presented with immobility or stupor, mutism, staring and withdrawal. All were treated with antipsychotics and 19 (90 %) received benzodiazepines.

This study suggests that signs and symptoms of catatonia during the peripartum are similar to other catatonic presentations. However, the postpartum may be a period of high risk for catatonia and obstetric factors, such as birth complications, may be relevant.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)252-256
Number of pages5
JournalSchizophrenia Research
Early online date3 Mar 2023
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024


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