Objective: To evaluate the contribution of serious mental illness (SMI), and specific risk factors (comorbidities and substance use) to the risk of adverse birth outcomes.  Study design: This cross-sectional study uses maternal delivery records in the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project Nationwide/National Inpatient Sample (HCUP-NIS) to estimate risk factor prevalence and relative risk of adverse birth outcomes (e.g. preeclampsia, preterm birth, and fetal distress) in women with SMI.

Results: The relative risk of adverse gestational (1.15, 95% CI: 1.13-1.17), obstetric (1.07, 1.06-1.08) and fetal (1.24, 1.21-1.26) outcomes is increased for women with SMI. After adjusting for risk factors the risk is significantly reduced, but remains elevated for all three adverse outcome categories (gestational: 1.08, 1.06-1.09; obstetric: 1.03, 1.02-1.05; fetal: 1.12, 1.09-1.14).

Conclusions: Maternal serious mental illness is independently associated with increased risk for adverse birth outcomes. However, approximately half of the excess risk is attributable to
comorbidities and substance use.


Photo by Kat Jayne from Pexels

Citation:  Heun-Johnson H, Seabury SA, Menchine M, Claudius I, Axeen S, Lakshmanan A. Association between maternal serious mental illness and adverse birth outcomes. J Perinatol. 2019;39(5):737–745. doi:10.1038/s41372-019-0346-5