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 the condition, a landmark study by researchers at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) and Women's College Hospital has found.
The first-of-its-kind study, published today in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, is the first to report high birth weights, and increased rates of hypertension and thromboembolic disease in pregnant women with schizophrenia.
"Traditionally, women with schizophrenia have had low fertility rates, and little attention was paid to their reproductive health," said Dr. Simon Vigod, lead author of the study, a psychiatrist at Women's College Hospital and a scientists at ICES. "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."
The population-based study of women aged 15 to 49 who gave birth to a live or stillborn infant in Ontario from 2002 to 2011 also found that:
"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," adds Vigod.
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