Mental health linked to stillbirth and newborn deaths

Nov 10, 2008

Women with a history of serious mental illness are much more likely to have babies that are stillborn or die within the first month of life, new research reveals.

Researchers at the Centre for Women's Mental Health at The University of Manchester studied almost 1.5 million births in Denmark between 1973 and 1998, including 7,021 stillbirths.

The risk of stillbirth and newborn deaths from any cause was at least twice as high for mothers admitted with a serious psychiatric illness than for women with no such history.

Lead researcher Dr Kathryn Abel, working with Danish colleagues at Arhus University, said: "We found that the chances of stillborn or newborn death from all causes were greater for babies whose mothers had a serious mental-health illness.

"The risk of stillbirth for women with schizophrenia was twice as high than healthy mothers, while women with affective disorders were also more than twice as likely to give birth to stillborn babies."

Women with other psychotic illnesses, including mood-affective disorders, manic depression and drug and alcohol addiction, were also shown to have a much greater risk of stillborn and newborn deaths.

The risk of stillbirth due to complications during delivery among women with drug and alcohol problems was more than double that of healthy women.

Women with affective disorders were more than twice as likely to give birth to babies with congenital abnormalities, leading to stillbirth.

"For most causes of death, offspring of women with schizophrenia had no greater risk of stillbirth or neonatal death than other psychiatrically-ill mothers," said Dr Abel, who is based in the University's School of Medicine.

"The fact that the link between the cause of death and the illness of the mother varies, suggests that factors other than the mental disorder itself are involved.

"Lifestyle, such as smoking and poor diet, and less antenatal care and poverty can also increase the chances of complication during childbirth.
"These findings suggest that further resources are needed to support these vulnerable women and their children."

Source: University of Manchester

Explore further: Common drugs adversely impair older adults' physical as well as cognitive functioning

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Study finds higher risk of stillbirth in women with fibroids

Feb 06, 2010

In a study to be presented today at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine's (SMFM) annual meeting, The Pregnancy Meeting, in Chicago, researchers will unveil findings that show that there is an increased risk of intrauterine ...

Women who miscarry continue to have mental health problems

Mar 03, 2011

The depression and anxiety experienced by many women after a miscarriage can continue for years, even after the birth of a healthy child, according to a study led by University of Rochester Medical Center researchers and ...

Solving the puzzle of Henry VIII

Mar 03, 2011

Blood group incompatibility between Henry VIII and his wives could have driven the Tudor king's reproductive woes, and a genetic condition related to his suspected blood group could also explain Henry's dramatic ...

Recommended for you

Researchers review help for navigating 'Dr Google'

1 hour ago

With the onset of the digital age more and more people are turning to 'Dr Google' for health and medical information, however local researchers are worried about a lack of resources for helping consumers ...

Baby bonus blues ahead for mothers

1 hour ago

Young mothers who are not in the paid workforce or are marginally employed will be significantly disadvantaged by the removal of the Baby Bonus.

User comments : 0