Babies born to mothers with bipolar disorders are at high risk

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The babies born to mothers with bipolar disorders are at high risk of preterm birth states a study. The infants of mothers with untreated bipolar disor...

The babies born to mothers with bipolar disorders are at high risk of preterm birth states a study. The infants of mothers with untreated bipolar disorder are also at increased risks of the outcomes pertaining to fetal growth restriction. 

The bipolar disorder is a serious and long-term condition that involves extreme mood swings. The treatment with mood stabilizes drugs like lithium, anticonvulsants, or antipsychotics can also help in keeping the mood within normal limits.

Earlier studies have stated that these drugs may be linked to pregnancy and birth complications. There is no much information available on the adverse outcomes in both treated and untreated women with bipolar disorder.

As per the data from the three national health registers, they identified 320 mothers with treated bipolar disorder and 554 untreated mothers.

The treated and untreated women were compared with all other women giving birth between July 1, 2005 and December 31, 2009. The results were adjusted for factors including maternal age, weight, smoking status, cohabitation, and the diagnosis of alcohol or the substance use disorder.

The mothers suffering from biopolar disorders were smokers, overweight and alcohol or substance abusers than the unaffected mothers.

The treated and untreated mothers with bipolar disorder had increased risks of caesarean delivery, instrumental delivery and non-spontaneous start to delivery of untreated women.

The treated and untreated mothers also had 50% increased risks of preterm birth compared with unaffected mothers or 8.1%  of treated women, 42/554 or 7.6% of untreated women, 15785/331 263 or 4.8% of other women.

It was also found that untreated mothers were also more likely to give birth to the baby with small head and with episodes of low blood sugar levels compared with unaffected mothers.  

Researchers also conclude that mood-stabilizing treatment is not the only reason for the increased risk of adverse pregnancy and birth outcomes previously observed in mothers with bipolar disorder. They also state that the role of treatment is still not very clear as the overall outcomes generally did not support the significant difference between the treated and untreated mothers.

Mental health expert Dr. Salvatore Gentile said, the question is not to treat or not to treat? but how to treat optimally? He also said, that the patients must be counseled properly on the risks of treatments in relation to the risks related with untreated psychiatric disorders. He adds, “The doctors should encourage and facilitate social integration, especially for women from disadvantaged social groups and those who are isolated."


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