Although rare, the appearance of schizophrenia in pregnancy it can occur, putting to the test the need to administer anti-psychotic medications to the woman who is generating a new life.
This is because drug treatment still remains controversial, although the absence of the drug is responsible for presenting serious risks for women diagnosed with schizophrenia.
But how to deal with the situation? How to proceed with the diagnosis of schizophrenia? To learn more, follow our content and stay on top!
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What are the symptoms?
The intensity of schizophrenia symptoms in pregnancy tend to vary from person to person, considering its previous framework and the context in which the woman is inserted. However, it is possible to find some very expressive signs that the problem may be developing during pregnancy. Are they:
- Difficulty concentrating;
- Persecution feelings;
- Delusion or hallucination;
- Confusing thoughts;
- Difficulty in recognizing the pregnancy;
- Anxious and depressive feelings;
- Disorganized behavior;
- Lack of understanding about herself;
- Social isolation;
- Difficulty communicating and expressing ideas;
- Lack of interest in hitherto pleasurable activities;
- Among other signs.
The diagnosis must be made by the psychiatrist, in order to analyze the patient’s mental management and see if there is an acute mental confusion and if the woman has difficulties to have contact with reality, creating hallucinations and forgetting situations that happened.
Risk factors for schizophrenia in pregnancy
The risk factors involved are:
- Psychiatric history of schizophrenia / psychosis;
- Use of psychoactive substances;
- Context in which you live;
- Issues related to the family economy;
- Lack of emotional support;
- Domestic violence;
- Traumas and violence in childhood;
- Psychological and physical abuse at any stage of life;
- Education level;
- Family history;
- And intense stress and anxiety.
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Complications caused by schizophrenia in pregnancy
When not receiving the appropriate treatment for the condition, the woman can suffer serious complications during pregnancy. Are they:
- Restriction of intrauterine growth;
- Premature birth;
- Ideation and suicide attempt;
- Prenatal depression;
- Impaired marterno-infantile bond;
- Baby blues;
- Hemorrhages before delivery;
- Low weight at birth;
- Misinterpretation of signs of labor;
- Difficulty recognizing pregnancy.
Because of this, it is extremely important to follow the treatment recommended by the medical team, in order to administer the appropriate medication to the case and seek psychotherapeutic assistance during pregnancy and in the postpartum period.
What to do when there is a diagnosis of schizophrenia in pregnancy?
From the moment the woman receives the diagnosis, it is necessary to follow all the recommendations given by the psychiatrist.
In addition, it is recommended to monitor a multi-professional team, always taking into account the patient’s history, the historical moment of her pregnancy, social and economic characteristics and the need for assistance.
This assistance, however, must be based on the ethical premise of providing women and their babies with a peaceful pregnancy, based on strengthening the bond between the mother and her future child. This is even more evident when we take into account that schizophrenia in pregnancy can directly impact the woman’s recognition of the situation, not understanding her condition as a pregnant woman or even a future mother.
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The type of treatment should also be based the intensity of symptoms and the severity of the disorder and, in the case of schizophrenia, the monitoring must be constant, so that the health professional is aware of any relapse / crisis that the woman may have during pregnancy.
Here are some recommendations according to the severity of the case:
- Pregnant women with a history of psychosis, but who is currently compensated, may discontinue the use of antipsychotic medication, as long as this is prescribed by the doctor;
- Pregnant women with the disease in moderate or severe condition must remain with the use of the medication during pregnancy, according to the dosage stipulated by the psychiatrist;
- Pregnant women in serious condition may require higher medication as a preventive measure. This is because the recurrence of a crisis can be more difficult to treat than maintaining the medication (ESTEVES, 2012).
However, it is clear that the search for medical support is fundamental to ensure that the woman gets through the pregnancy in the best possible way. In addition, it is evident that the multidisciplinary team, which unites the gynecologist, psychiatrist and psychologist, works for the well-being and comfort of the mother and baby.
Psychotherapy, for example, is able to strengthen the mother’s bond with her future child, playing a key role in preventing postpartum depression.
If you have noticed symptoms of schizophrenia in pregnancy, do not hesitate to seek specialized medical help. Moderate and severe cases require adequate medication to ensure the mental health and integrity of the woman and baby.
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ESTEVES, Marta Maria BSS Mental Illness in Pregnancy. Institute of Biomedical Sciences Abel Salazar, 2012. Available at
SCHIZOPHRENIA. Mais Pfizer Program. Available at
SOARES, Paulo José. Use of Psychiatric Medication in Pregnancy. Psychiatry on line, 2003. Available at