Maternal illness during pregnancy

How is maternal illness during pregnancy relevant to people with schizophrenia?

Maternal illness during pregnancy with diabetes, toxoplasma gondii, rubella, cytomegalovirus, herpes simplex virus and other microbes have been associated with brain and behavioural abnormalities in the offspring, and so have been investigated as possible risk factors for schizophrenia.

What is the evidence for exposure to maternal illness during pregnancy as a risk factor for schizophrenia?

High quality evidence finds a small effect of increased risk of schizophrenia in the offspring of women with increased c-reactive protein levels during pregnancy. Moderate to high quality evidence suggests small effects of increased risk of schizophrenia in the offspring of women with increased cytokines IL-8 or IL-10 during pregnancy.

Moderate to high quality evidence finds a large association between risk of schizophrenia and exposure to maternal diabetes in utero, with no association with maternal urinary tract infections. Moderate to low quality evidence finds medium-sized effects of increased risk of schizophrenia with exposure to maternal infections in utero, particularly upper respiratory tract, genital or reproductive infections, also herpes simplex virus and Toxoplasma gondii, but not influenza.

March 2019

Last updated at: 5:20 am, 16th March 2019
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