The British Journal of Psychiatry
Preterm birth and intra-uterine growth retardation among children of women with schizophrenia.
B E Bennedsen, P B Mortensen, A V Olesen, T B Henriksen


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.