Women with schizophrenia had fewer psychiatric emergencies and hospitalizations while pregnant and during the first year after giving birth, than they did in the year before they conceived, a new study found. The research provides important information for women with schizophrenia who are making family planning decisions.
In the year before they became pregnant, 25 per cent of women with schizophrenia were hospitalized at least once for psychiatric illness, and 20 per cent had at least one psychiatric emergency department visit without being admitted to hospital.
These numbers were halved while the women were pregnant, during which time 12 per cent were hospitalized and 10 per cent used the emergency department.
In the year after giving birth, hospitalizations and emergency visits remained lower than in the year before conception: 19 per cent of the women were hospitalized, and 16 per cent used the emergency department.
The exception to these lowered rates was during the first nine days after giving birth. During this time, women were more than three times as likely to be hospitalized or use the emergency room than in the year before pregnancy. These rates may reflect the many stresses that new mothers feel in the first few days with a new baby. However, this high rate declined over the first month after giving birth, and remained lower the pre-pregnancy rate for the rest of the year.