Gestational Weight Gain Linked to Psychosis Risk in Children

Insufficient weight gain linked to increased risk for schizophrenia in offspring later in life


THURSDAY, Feb. 23, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Gaining too little weight during pregnancy may increase the odds that offspring will develop schizophrenia later in life, according to a study published online Feb. 22 in JAMA Psychiatry.

Euan Mackay, a research assistant in the Karolinska Institute's division of epidemiology of mental health in Stockholm, and colleagues used information from the Swedish health and population registers to collect data on 526,042 individuals born between 1982 and 1989. The team gathered data from the age of 13 until the end of 2011.

The investigators found that, by 2011, nearly 2,910 individuals had some form of mental disorder; 704 had schizophrenia. Among patients with mental disorders, 6.32 percent of their mothers had extremely low gestational weight gain -- less than 18 pounds.

Malnutrition may play a significant part in these results, Mackay told HealthDay. But there are other reasons that cannot be ruled out based on these data. For example, inadequate weight gain may also indicate an existing medical condition that affects both mother and the developing fetus. More research is needed to understand the association between maternal weight and the risk for schizophrenia in children, Mackay suggested.

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