Schizophrenia Linked to Pregnancy Complications


Women having schizophrenia are nearly twice as likely to undergo preeclampsia, pre-term birth, and other serious pregnancy and delivery complications as women without the condition.

Schizophrenia connected to pregnancy complications

Women with schizophrenia have a greater possibility of developing placental abruption (in which placenta separates from the uterus) and septic shock, of experiencing induced labor and cesarean section, of being transferred to an intensive care unit, and of being back to the hospital after discharge.

Traditionally, women having schizophrenia used to have low fertility rates and gained little focus on their reproductive health. But recently, with the fertility rates on the rise among these women, we must pay attention to ensuring their reproductive health and that of their children.

The experts examined records for new moms between 15 and 49 years-old and figured out the possibility 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 were more likely to get abnormally high or low weight. Compared to women without the mental illness, schizophrenic women were put in the risk of having diabetes, chronic high blood pressure, and blood clots before their pregnancy.

This research gives us the information and tools to start to look at what interventions we can have to help decrease the risk of pregnancy and delivery complications for women with schizophrenia. That might include offering better education so that these women can make reproductive decisions and guarantee the best medical care possible before, during, and after pregnancy.

How to help women with schizophrenia during pregnancy

These women will need help during their pregnancy and when they are first taking care of the new baby. It is best to consult with a pregnancy doctor (obstetrician), mental health doctor, and family doctor and a pediatrician about any changes in their treatment or lifestyle during and just after their pregnancy. Women with schizophrenia may wonder if the medicine they take for schizophrenia will harm their baby. Talk to the doctor about this. These women may be taking other medicines for schizophrenia or for the side effects of the medicines. They need to have a discussion with the health care team.

Taking medicines to manage the symptoms of schizophrenia can help prevent:

  • Not getting the care before birth (prenatal care) that they and their baby need.
  • Not eating well enough and offering their baby poor nutrition.
  • Having other medicines or supplements that may harm their baby.
  • Taking alcohol, illegal drugs, or tobacco, all of which may harm their baby.

The best thing they can do is to plan their pregnancy with their health care team or contact the doctors as soon as they know they are pregnant. The doctors can help them make the decisions they will need to make about medicines. The doctors also can help women with schizophrenia during their pregnancy and watch for symptoms or problems they may have.

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Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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