Pregnancy, stress and schizophrenia

Published on NHS choices.uk, Analysis by BAZIAN, February 5 2008.

“Children born to women who suffer severe stress early in pregnancy are at increased risk of developing schizophrenia later in life,” The Daily Telegraph reported today.

The newspaper said that a Danish study of 1.38million births from 1973 to 1995 found the risk of schizophrenia increased by 67 per cent among the offspring of women who experienced the death of a relative during early pregnancy.

The BBC said that researchers found that the risk did not increase at any other time during pregancy or in the six months leading up to it.

This large study looked at schizophrenia in the offspring of pregnant mothers who experienced the death or serious illness of a close relative before or during pregnancy. It is important to realise that this study did not look at all types of mental illness and that the only stressful event the researchers looked at was the death or illness of a relative.

Many factors, including genetic and environmental ones, are likely to play a role in the risk of developing schizophrenia as an adult. Prospective mothers should bear in mind that for each individual the overall risk of developing schizophrenia is low.


Where did the story come from: Ali Khashan and colleagues from University of Manchester, Cork University in Ireland, and University of Aarhus in Denmark carried out the research. The study was funded by Tommy’s the Baby Charity and the Stanley Medical Research Institute. The study was published in the peer-reviewed medical journal: Archives of General Psychiatry.

What kind of scientific study was this? … (full text).

Links:

Mother’s stress in early pregnancy ‘puts baby at risk of schizophrenia‘;

Schizophrenia link to trauma in pregnancy;

Pre-birth schizophrenia risk fear;

Stress in pregnancy causes psychosis;

… and more same articles by this Google-search.

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