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Keywords:

  • family planning;
  • female psychotic/psychiatric patient;
  • maternal characteristics;
  • postpartum;
  • pregnancy;
  • reproductive health;
  • serious mental illness;
  • sexual health

Aims and objectives

To determine what problems female psychiatric patients have in terms of reproductive health.

Background

The reproductive health problems faced by female psychiatric patients are matters that have been neglected in the areas of both psychiatry and women's health. This study aims to make a contribution from Turkey to the literature in this neglected field.

Design

The study is descriptive and was conducted with 292 female patients treated in an acute inpatient psychiatric ward.

Methods

Data were collected through face-to-face interviews and a questionnaire based on the literature and prepared by the researchers which was designed to determine the kinds of reproductive health issues the patients were experiencing.

Results

It was found that compared with healthy women, the distinctive features of the participants in terms of sexuality were more negative; in particular, patients diagnosed with bipolar disorder were more likely to have been forced by their partners to have sex, they had suffered from rape or sexually transmitted diseases, the majority of those who had previous sexual experience had tried to use contraceptives but had been unable to continue using them, they were most likely to choose the method of withdrawal for contraception, their rates of pregnancy and abortion were high, they received less antenatal care, and they were more likely to have smoked during pregnancy.

Conclusions

It was found that female patients with psychiatric disorders had more negative attributes with regard to marriage, sexuality, family planning, maternal characteristics and pregnancy, compared with a corresponding healthy population.

Relevance to clinical practice

The results of this study may be useful for nurses in the clinical field for calling an attention and raising an awareness of the reproductive health problems of women with psychiatric disorders, taking the necessary preventive measures, and developing damage-reducing strategies.