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Schizophr Res. 2007 Jul;93(1-3):229-36. Epub 2007 May 1.

The effects of genetic liability for schizophrenia and maternal smoking during pregnancy on obstetric complications.

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UCLA Psychology Department, 1285 Franz Hall, Box 951563, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1563, United States.


The purpose of this study was to determine whether a genetic vulnerability for schizophrenia and/or health-risk behaviors among schizophrenic pregnant women were associated with an increased incidence of obstetric complications (OCs).


A high-risk birth cohort was formed by searching the Finnish Perinatal Register for all births from 1991-2000 with arterial cord pH values below 7.20, an indication of fetal asphyxia. This database was merged with national hospital discharge registries to determine psychiatric morbidity of the mothers and the mothers' first-degree relatives. Mothers were divided into 3 groups: women diagnosed with schizophrenia/schizoaffective disorder (n=53), mothers with a first-degree relative with schizophrenia/schizoaffective disorder (n=590) and healthy controls (n=36,895).


Schizophrenic women had significantly more OCs than mothers with a first-degree schizophrenic relative and controls. These women had significantly increased rates of eclampsia, premature delivery, prenatal hospitalizations, and marginally significant increases in high blood pressure. Offspring of schizophrenic mothers had significantly decreased APGAR scores and birth weight and increased medical complications after birth. In contrast, women with a schizophrenic first-degree relative had no significant increases in OCs compared to controls. Schizophrenic mothers also smoked more than the other groups and smoking was found to mediate the relationship between maternal schizophrenic status and decreased birth weight among offspring.


Maternal schizophrenia during pregnancy leads to an increased risk of OCs, possibly due to engagement in health-risk behaviors during pregnancy, such as smoking, whereas genetic susceptibility to schizophrenia, by itself, does not appear to be related to incidence of OCs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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