Unrecognized and untreated postpartum mental illness can have tragic consequences, as underscored and often sensationalized in news media coverage of maternal infanticide.1,2 After such a tragic incident, up to 30% of mothers who commit filicide also commit suicide.3 In those mothers who survive, repercussions may include intense feelings of guilt and grief as well as stigma. Furthermore, women may face criminal charges in several countries, including the United States. In contrast with other nations, the US judicial approach to infanticide is particularly punitive, with 4 states lacking the option of an insanity-based defense.4
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Luykx JJ, Di Florio A, Bergink V. Prevention of Infanticide and Suicide in the Postpartum Period—the Importance of Emergency Care. JAMA Psychiatry. 2019;76(12):1221–1222. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2019.1929
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