Member Research and Reports

Member Research and Reports

CUNY Professor Finds That Maternal Psychiatric Disorders Are Associated with an Increased Likelihood of Preterm Birth

Dr. Michele Kiely, associate dean for research at the CUNY School of Public Health and Health Policy and colleagues studied the effect of maternal psychiatric disorders (depression, anxiety disorder, bipolar disease, schizophrenia, unspecified psychiatric disorder, and comorbid conditions) and odds of preterm birth. The study is published in the Annals of Epidemiology.

[Photo: Dr. Michele Kiely]

Data came from the Consortium on Safe Labor, an observational cohort of more than 200,000 singleton pregnancies from across the United States. Women with any psychiatric disorder were significantly more likely to deliver early, regardless of definition (<39 weeks, <37 weeks, <34 weeks, and <28 weeks) as well as all specific diagnoses (depression, anxiety, bipolar disease, bipolar disease with depression and/or anxiety disorder, and unspecified psychiatric disorder). When evaluating specific maternal psychiatric disorders, all disorders except schizophrenia were associated with an increased likelihood of delivering at less than 37 weeks. The highest odds were among women with depression with anxiety disorder. Similarly, most maternal psychiatric disorders were associated with increased odds of births at less than 34 and less than 28 weeks’ gestation. Women with depression with anxiety disorder had the highest odds of delivering a preterm birth at less 34 and less than 28 weeks’ gestation.

Women in the cohort with psychiatric disorders were also more likely to have other chronic diseases, which could elevate their risk of preterm birth. Although accounting for chronic diseases did not change the researchers’ observed findings. Mothers with psychiatric disorders, particularly those complicated by anxiety disorders, were associated with an increased risk of both spontaneous and indicated preterm delivery.