preterm birth

Smoking During Pregnancy Not Associated with Severe Mental Illness in Offspring, But Other Risks Exist

Over the years, we have seen a number of research studies which suggested a link between maternal smoking during pregnancy and adverse psychiatric outcomes in offspring, including increased risk for bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity [...]

PTSD in Veterans Increases Risk of Preterm Birth

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is relatively common among pregnant and postpartum women. The lifetime prevalence of PTSD for women is about 10%.  PTSD is most prevalent among women of childbearing age and PTSD symptoms are common during pregnancy.  Earlier this year, we reported on a study which observed that women with a diagnosis of PTSD had an increased risk of preterm birth.  The risk was particularly high in those women with diagnoses of both PTSD and a major depressive episode; these women had a 4-fold increased risk of preterm birth.

Pregnancy Outcomes in Women with Schizophrenia

With the advent of the newer, atypical antipsychotic medications, patients with psychotic disorders have been able to achieve greater symptom control with less disabling side effects. For women with schizophrenia, there has also been an increase in fertility rates over the last decade.  Previous studies have suggested that women with schizophrenia, as compared to women with no psychiatric illness, are at increased risk for pregnancy and delivery complications, including low birthweight, intrauterine growth restriction, and preterm birth.  However, most of these studies occurred at a time when the women were treated with older antipsychotic medications, and we cannot assume that these findings are relevant now, when women with schizophrenia are more commonly treated with the newer atypical antipsychotics and have much better control of their symptoms.

Anxiety and PTSD Associated with Preterm Birth

A recent study followed 29 mothers who gave birth to 35 premature children born before the 33rd week of pregnancy. The women were assessed within 2 weeks postpartum (T0), 2 weeks after hospitalization (T1), 6 months post-term (T2), and 18 months post-term (T3). The Impact of Event Scale (IES), General Health Questionnaire (GHQ) and State Anxiety Inventory (STAI-X1) were used to assess maternal mental health outcomes.