Psychotic pregnancy denial: a review of the literature and its clinical considerations

Tess Chase, Akash Shah, Jaimie Maines, Adam Fusick

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Pregnancy denial can be broken into two major types, non-psychotic and psychotic deniers, and further classified into pervasive, affective and persistent sub-types. It can lead to increased morbidity and mortality of the mother and neonate. Psychotic pregnancy denial is rare and the medical literature existing on the subject is limited to a small number of case reports and case series. No formal recommendation exists on the clinical management of psychotic pregnancy denial in the antenatal or postpartum period. The authors provide a comprehensive review of the literature regarding psychotic pregnancy denial, present an example of an unpublished case and provide suggestions for clinical management. Case: A 33-year-old primigravida at 37 6/7 weeks gestation presented with new-onset psychotic pregnancy denial with no prior history of psychosis. She had a negative medical work-up for organic causes of psychosis. Using a multidisciplinary approach, the decision was made to deliver the fetus at 38 1/7 weeks via cesarean section due to concerns for patient and fetal safety. Following delivery, she was admitted to an inpatient psychiatric facility and underwent 16 bilateral electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) treatments to which she showed complete response. Conclusion: Psychotic pregnancy denial is rare and potentially dangerous. Delivery prior to 39 weeks gestation is reasonable for worsening psychiatric disease but careful consideration of the risk–benefit analysis and ethical framework must be deliberated. Teaching points: In cases of worsening psychiatric disease in pregnancy, a multidisciplinary approach is necessary for comprehensive care. Psychotic denial of pregnancy leads to increased maternal and neonatal morbidity and mortality. Delivery prior to 39 weeks gestational age is reasonable to expedite psychiatric treatment. Precis Using a multidisciplinary approach, the decision to deliver before 39 weeks gestation is reasonable for worsening psychiatric disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynecology
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Psychotic pregnancy denial: a review of the literature and its clinical considerations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this