WEDNESDAY, Sept. 29, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Pregnant women with schizophrenia experience more pregnancy, delivery, and neonatal complications versus women without severe mental disorders, according to a study published online Sept. 6 in The Lancet Regional Health: Europe.

Cyprien Fabre, from Aix-Marseille University in France, and colleagues evaluated whether pregnant women with schizophrenia were at increased risk for pregnancy, delivery, and neonatal complications compared with women without severe mental disorders. The analysis included 3,108 women with schizophrenia who were matched (1:4) to controls without a diagnosis of severe mental disorder; matching was based on hospital of delivery, age, social deprivation, parity, smoking, alcohol and substance addictions, malnutrition, obesity, and comorbidities.

The researchers found that women with schizophrenia were older; had more frequent smoking, alcohol, and substance addictions; and were more likely to suffer from obesity, diabetes, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Women with schizophrenia had more pregnancy complications (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 1.41), including gestational diabetes, gestational hypertension, genitourinary infection, intrauterine growth retardation, and threatened preterm labor. Additionally, women with schizophrenia had more delivery complications (aOR, 1.18), including stillbirths/medical abortions (aOR, 2.17) and cesarean sections (aOR, 1.15). Offspring of women with schizophrenia had more neonatal complications (aOR, 1.38), including preterm birth (aOR, 1.64), small for gestational age (aOR, 1.34), and low birth weight (aOR, 1.75).

“Our study calls for health policy interventions during and before pregnancy, including proportionate intensified care to the level of needs, effective case management, and preventive and social determinant approaches,” the authors write.

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