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Poor maternal care and high maternal body mass index in pregnancy as a risk factor for schizophrenia in offspring

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Kawai M, Minabe Y, Takagai S, Ogai M, Matsumoto H, Mori N, Takei V. Poor maternal care and high maternal body mass index in pregnancy as a risk factor for schizophrenia in offspring.

Acta Psychiatr Scand 2004: 110: 257–263. © Blackwell Munksgaard 2004. Objective: 

We investigated whether antenatal factors in mothers would increase the risk of schizophrenia in the offspring, and also examined any relationship between these factors and histories of obstetric complications (OCs). Method: 

Using the Mother and Child Health Handbooks of 52 patients with schizophrenia and 284 healthy subjects, we evaluated the risk-increasing effects of the frequency of antenatal care visits and mothers’ body mass index (BMI) at both early and late pregnancy. Results: 

In logistic regression analysis, there was a significant association between the number of antenatal care visits and the risk of the disorder; an increase in a unit of visits corresponds to a reduction of the risk by 12%. We also found a 24% increase in the risk with a one-unit increase of BMI at the early pregnancy, and a 19% increase at the late pregnancy. These antenatal factors were found to contribute, in part, to an excess of OCs in individuals with schizophrenia. Conclusion: 

Poor maternal care during pregnancy and comparatively high maternal BMI especially at early pregnancy may cause a predisposition to schizophrenia in the offspring.

Keywords: Mother and Child Health Handbook; body mass index; maternal care; obstetric complications; schizophrenia

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Psychiatry and Neurology, Hamamatsu University School of Medicine, Hamamatsu 2: Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, Tokai University, Kanagawa

Publication date: October 1, 2004


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