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


Nori Takei, Department of Psychiatry and Neurology, Hamamatsu University School of Medicine, 1-20-1 Handayama, Hamamatsu 431-3192, Japan.
E-mail: ntakei@hama-med.ac.jp


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.