Obstetric complications

How are obstetric complications related to risk of bipolar disorder?

Obstetric complications are a broad class of deviations from a normal course of events experienced during pregnancy, labour, delivery and the early neonatal period. Studies have attempted to investigate whether any deviation or combination of deviations are related to the subsequent development of bipolar disorder. Teasing out possible effects of obstetric complications is not simple because many other, and often unknown, contributing factors are most probably involved.

What is the evidence for obstetric complications as risk factors for bipolar disorder?

Moderate quality evidence suggests an increased risk of bipolar disorder with both early (<36-37 weeks) and late (>39-40 weeks) gestational age. Low birth weight (<2500g) accompanied by gestational age under 37 weeks may also increase the risk in female, but not male offspring.

There were no associations between bipolar disorder and caesarean section, apgar score, birth presentation, birth type, uterine bleeding, or induced labour.

February 2021

Last updated at: 12:44 am, 2nd February 2021
To view documentation related to this topic download the files below
Fact Sheet Technical Commentary

NeuRA Libraries

Title Colour Legend:
Green - Topic summary is available.
Orange - Topic summary is being compiled.
Red - Topic summary has no current systematic review available.