Women's College Research Institute

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Women with schizophrenia at higher risk of pregnancy and delivery complications

February 2014

Traditionally, women with schizophrenia have had low fertility rates, and little attention was paid to their reproductive health. But as a growing number of women with schizophrenia are becoming pregnant, there is an urgent need for health care professionals to better understand the health of these mothers and their babies during pregnancy and delivery.

Dr. Simone Vigod, Shirley Brown Scientist at Women’s College Research Institute and staff psychiatrist at Women’s College Hospital, recently led a population-based study to investigate pregnancy outcomes among women with schizophrenia.

Vigod and her team found that women with schizophrenia are nearly twice as likely to experience pre-eclampsia and blood clotting, and their babies are more likely to be born prematurely and very small or large, compared to women without schizophrenia. These women and their babies also required more intensive hospital resources, including operative delivery and admission to a maternal intensive care unit. The findings were published in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

The study is part of a series of studies led by Vigod called the SUPPORT studies (Schizophrenia Understood in the Perinatal period: Psychiatric Outcomes and Reproductive Trajectories).

“Our study gives us the information to begin to look at what interventions we can put in place to help improve the health of pregnant women with schizophrenia and the health of their newborns,” says Vigod.

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