The British Journal of Psychiatry


BACKGROUND There is conflicting evidence about the frequency of adverse pregnancy outcomes among women with schizophrenia.

AIMS To investigate the risk of preterm birth, low birth weight and intra-uterine growth retardation among women with schizophrenia.

METHOD A total of 2212 births to 1537 women with schizophrenia in Denmark were compared with a random sample of all deliveries in Denmark in 1973-1993 (122,931 births to 72,742 women).

RESULTS The children of women with schizophrenia were at increased risk of preterm delivery (relative risk = 1.46, 95% CI = 1.19-1.79), low birth weight (relative risk = 1.57, 95% CI = 1.36-1.82) and small for gestational age (relative risk = 1.34, 95% CI = 1.17-1.53).

CONCLUSIONS Women with schizophrenia are at increased risk of adverse pregnancy outcome. This may be associated with an increased mortality and general morbidity and risk of schizophrenia in their children.