Low weight gain in pregnancy linked to schizophrenia in children

New study finds insufficient weight gain in pregnancy was associated with increased risk for schizophrenia spectrum disorders in children.
By Amy Wallace   |   Feb. 22, 2017 at 1:18 PM
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Feb. 22 (UPI) -- Researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden have found a link between inadequate weight gain during pregnancy and a higher risk of schizophrenia disorders in children later in life.

Schizophrenia spectrum disorders, also known as nonaffective psychosis, refers to psychosis not related to emotions or moods.

The study, led by Renee M. Gardner, Ph.D. followed 526,042 people born between 1982 and 1989 from the age of 13 to the end of 2011. The average age of participants was 26 and about 51 percent of participants were male. The group included 2,910 people with nonaffective psychoses at the end of the follow-up period with 704 having narrowly defined schizophrenia.

Results found that of the participants with nonaffective psychosis, 184 had mothers with extremely inadequate gestational weight gain of less than 17.6 pounds for mothers with normal starting weight compared with 23,627 participants without nonaffective psychosis.

Extremely inadequate gestational weight gain was associated with increased risk for nonaffective psychoses in children.

"Our results corroborate evidence from previous research and indicated that adequate weight gain during pregnancy contributes to the risk of nonaffective psychosis in offspring," study authors said in a press release. "Weight gain outside Institute of Medicine guidelines may have deleterious effects on offspring neurodevelopment."

The study was published in JAMA Psychiatry.

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