Bipolar diagnosis in Mom makes pregnancy more risky

By Charles Bankhead, Staff Writer, MedPage Today

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  • Women with bipolar disorder had a significantly increased risk of adverse outcomes in pregnancy, regardless of whether the psychiatric condition was treated, investigators reported.

Bipolar disorder was associated with almost a twofold increase in the frequency of induced or planned C-section and a 50% higher risk of preterm birth, according to Robert Bodén, MD, of Uppsala University in Sweden, and co-authors.

Microencephaly, small for gestational age, and neonatal hypoglycemia all occurred more often among infants whose mothers had bipolar disorder, they reported online in BMJ.

“Our findings of increased risks for several of the investigated outcomes also in the untreated women suggest that mood-stabilizing treatment is probably not the sole reason for the increased risk of adverse pregnancy and birth outcomes,” the authors wrote in conclusion.

“The role of treatment is, however, still unclear as the overall analyses of variation in outcomes generally did not support a significant difference between treated and untreated women. The possibility of an anabolic drug effect with increased risks of gestational diabetes and reduced risks of fetal growth restriction should be noted.”

Bipolar disorder has been associated with a small increase in the risk of pregnancy complications, preterm birth, and delivery of small-for-gestational-age infants. Previous studies had not separated the effects of the condition from potential effects of treatment for bipolar disorder, the authors noted in their introduction.

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