A person with bipolar
disorders experiences severe mood fluctuations ranging from depression to
mania. Generally, normal moods are
noticed between troughs and peaks.
Scientists are of the
opinion that babies born to pregnant ladies with bipolar disorders are
predisposed to preterm birth i.e. they are more likely to be born before 37
weeks of gestation.
Robert Boden et al
conducted a study to assess the effect of administration of mood stabilizers
for bipolar disorder in pregnant ladies on their off-springs. The study was
published in BMJ
agents such as lithium, antipsychotics and anticonvulsants are used in treating
The scientists from
Uppsala University and the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden analyzed the risks
and apprehensions of complicated pregnancy and birth outcomes in both untreated
and treated pregnant women with bipolar disorders.
They enrolled 554
pregnant women with untreated bipolar ailments and 320 women who received
proper treatment for bipolar disorders.
Both these groups were
compared with other pregnant ladies who delivered between 1 July 2005 and 31
Factors such as
smoking, weight, maternal age, cohabitation and diagnosis of substance use
disorder or alcohol were taken into account while making the assessment of
The researchers noted
that bipolar disorders were commonly seen in mothers who smoked, were
substances users or alcoholics and were overweight.
The scientists also
said that the risk of caesarean births, instrumental delivery and a
non-spontaneous onset of delivery in mothers with bipolar disorders was37.5
percent of treated women, 30.9 percent of untreated women and 20.7 percent of
point observed by the researchers was that both
untreated and treated pregnant mothers had 50 percent more chances of preterm
births as compared to unaffected ladies
As compared to
unaffected mothers, the bipolar disorder affected mothers were more likely to
deliver babies with small head (microcephaly) and with low serum sugar levels.
finally said, "Mood stabilising treatment is probably not the sole reason for
the increased risk of adverse pregnancy and birth outcomes previously observed
in mothers with bipolar disorder."
They further said that
the "Exact role of treatment is still unknown because the ultimate outcome of
pregnancy generally did not support a significant difference between untreated
and treated" expectant ladies.
Dr Salvatore Gentile
mentioned, the question is not "to treat or not to treat?" but
"how to treat optimally?" There is no adequate risk-free drug
available; the physicians choose the least harmful one.
He added that patients
should be adequately counseled about the associated dangers and risks of
treatment and the consultants should "encourage and facilitate social
integration, especially for women from disadvantaged social groups and those
who are isolated."
Robert Bodén finally
said that both untreated and treated
pregnant women with bipolar disorder were predisposed to high risk for infant
morbidity and delivery complications, in contrast to women having no bipolar
Risks of adverse pregnancy and birth outcomes in
women treated or not treated with mood stabilisers for bipolar disorder:
population based cohort study; Robert Boden et al; BMJ 2012