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Womens Health Issues. 2012 Jul-Aug;22(4):e371-7. doi: 10.1016/j.whi.2012.05.002.

Pregnancies, abortions, and births among women with and without borderline personality disorder.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh Medical School, Program in Epidemiology, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.



The purpose of this study was to examine history of pregnancies among women with and without borderline personality disorder (BPD), to determine whether BPD symptoms are associated with teenage pregnancies, unplanned pregnancies, elective and spontaneous abortions, and live births.


Three hundred seventy-nine women completed the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Axis I diagnoses, Structured Interview for DSM-IV Personality for Axis II diagnoses, and a reproductive health interview. African-American (AA) women were oversampled, because little is known about BPD in AA women and they are at greater risk of teenage pregnancy, unplanned pregnancies, and spontaneous abortions.


BPD symptom severity was associated with a teenage pregnancy, even after controlling for race and socioeconomic status. Symptom severity was also associated with unplanned pregnancies and live births, but only for women without a history of a substance use disorder. BPD symptom severity was not associated with abortion.


Women with BPD become pregnant and have children, often during the period when BPD symptoms emerge and intensify. They are at increased risk of teenage pregnancies and unintended pregnancies compared with women with Axis I disorders. Treatment planning for this population should include attention to their reproductive health and better integration of physical and mental health services.

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