Schizophrenia linked to pregnancy complications

accreditation
iStock

Women with schizophrenia are at increased risk for serious problems during pregnancy and childbirth, according to a new study.

Canadian researchers analysed data on births in the province of Ontario from 2002 to 2011 and found that pre-eclampsia, preterm birth and other serious pregnancy and delivery complications were twice as likely to occur in women with schizophrenia than in those without the mental health disorder.

Women with schizophrenia were more likely to develop placental abruption (in which placenta separates from the uterus) and septic shock, to undergo induced labour and caesarean section, to be transferred to an intensive care unit, and to be readmitted to the hospital after discharge.

Read: The future of schizophrenia

Low fertility rates

"Traditionally, women with schizophrenia have had low fertility rates, and little attention was paid to their reproductive health," study author Dr Simon Vigod, a psychiatrist at Women's College Hospital in Toronto, said in a hospital news release. "But recently, with fertility rates on the rise among these women, we must now turn our attention to ensuring their reproductive health and that of their babies."

About 1% of Americans have schizophrenia, according to the US National Institute of Mental Health. Symptoms usually start between ages 16 and 30.

The researchers examined records for new mothers between the ages of 15 and 49, and found the risk of dying within a year of giving birth was more than five times greater for women with schizophrenia. And babies born to mothers with schizophrenia tended to have abnormally high or low weights.

Read: Schizophrenia: a mother's tale

Women with schizophrenia also had more health problems before conceiving, according to the study, which was published in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

Informed reproductive decisions

Compared to women without the mental illness, schizophrenic women were more likely to have diabetes (about 4% vs. 1%), chronic high blood pressure (almost 4% vs. 2%) and blood clots (about 2% vs. 0.5%) before their pregnancy.

"[These findings provide] the information and tools to begin to look at what interventions we can put in place to help reduce the risk of pregnancy and delivery complications for women with schizophrenia," said Vigod, who is also a scientist at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences.

"That might include providing better education so these women can make informed reproductive decisions, and ensuring the best medical care possible before, during and after pregnancy," he said.


Read more:
Schizophrenia risk in stressed moms
Anaemic mom may equal schizo kids

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
The ANC's leadership race is heating up. Who do you think will be elected party president at Nasrec in December?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has got it in the bag
6% - 316 votes
I foresee a second term for Cyril Ramaphosa
82% - 3990 votes
Don’t discount a Zweli Mkhize win
12% - 581 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
18.08
-0.7%
Rand - Pound
20.18
-1.2%
Rand - Euro
17.73
-0.7%
Rand - Aus dollar
11.61
+0.5%
Rand - Yen
0.12
-0.5%
Gold
1,663.88
+0.2%
Silver
19.08
+1.4%
Palladium
2,171.00
-1.6%
Platinum
866.50
-0.2%
Brent-ruolie
88.49
-0.9%
Top 40
57,390
+0.8%
All Share
63,726
+0.7%
Resource 10
60,230
+0.7%
Industrial 25
77,400
+0.8%
Financial 15
13,796
+0.7%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE