A new study conducted at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) and Women's College Hospital has found that women with schizophrenia are nearly twice as likely to experience pre-eclampsia, pre-term birth and other serious pregnancy, and delivery complications as women without a mental disorder.
Published in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, women with schizophrenia were more likely to develop separation of the placental lining and septic shock, to undergo induced labor and cesarean section, to be transferred to an intensive care unit, and to be readmitted to the hospital after discharge.
"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, released in hospital news. "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."
Compared to women without the mental illness, schizophrenic women were three times more likely to have diabetes mellitus (3.9 percent vs. 1.2 percent), twice as likely to have chronic high blood pressure (almost 3.7 percent vs. 1.9 percent) and more likely to have blood clots (about 1.7 percent vs. 0.5 percent) before their pregnancy. Women with schizophrenia also had more than five times the risk of death one year after giving birth.
"This study gives us 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," added Dr. Vigod. "That might include providing better education so that these women can make informed reproductive decisions, and ensuring the best medical care possible before, during and after pregnancy."