Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Health & Pregnancy

Font Size

Pregnancy Stress, Schizophrenia Linked?

Severe Stress in First Trimester Could Increase Schizophrenia Risk for Offspring, Study Shows

Some Stress May Be Good continued...

Having a family history of schizophrenia or another mental illness was associated with a much larger risk, in this study and in others.

DiPietro says much of the research linking pregnancy stress to negative outcomes has focused on early child development and relied on mothers' perceptions of their children's behavior.

"The problem is that mothers who are more anxious and stressed are more likely to view their child as having behavioral problems," she says.

In her own 2006 study, in which child behavior was independently assessed, moderate stress during pregnancy was actually associated with a good outcome -- advanced development at age 2.

One possible reason for this is that the chemicals the body produces in response to stress also play a role in fetal maturation, she tells WebMD.

DiPietro is associate dean for research and a professor at Baltimore's Johns Hopkins School of Public Health.

"The knee-jerk reaction is to think that all stress is bad, but this may not be so in pregnancy," she says. "The fetus is not as vulnerable as we may think to the day-to-day stresses women deal with, like working and meeting deadlines."

1|2

Pregnancy Week-By-Week Newsletter

Delivered right to your inbox, get pictures and facts on
what to expect each week of your pregnancy.

Today on WebMD

Woman smiling as she reads pregnancy test
Slideshow
pregnant woman with salad
Quiz
 
pregnancy am i pregnant
Article
babyapp
NEW
 

slideshow fetal development
Slideshow
pregnancy first trimester warning signs
Article
 
What Causes Bipolar
Video
Woman trying on dress in store
Slideshow
 

pregnant woman
Article
Close up on eyes of baby breastfeeding
Video
 
healthtool pregnancy calendar
Tool
eddleman prepare your body pregnancy
Video