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Minerva Psichiatrica 2012 December;53(4):343-56


language: Italian

Pregnancy, post-partum and psychiatric disorders. What are the risks and outcomes in offsprings?

Di Giacomo E. 1, 2, Paggi E. 1, Mason E. 1, Clerici M. 1, 2

1 Dipartimento di Neuroscienze e Tecnologie Biomediche, Università degli Studi di Milano Bicocca, Milano, Italia; 2 DSM Azienda Ospedale San Gerardo, Monza, Monza-Brianza, Italia

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Pregnancy represents a peculiar life experience characterized by deep physical, emotional and hormonal changes. Physiological modifications linked to pregnancy and labor may represent a risk factor for exacerbation of an already-existing condition in a woman, or determine an onset in susceptible people. Media attention highlights some pathologies as post-partum depression or psychosis, particularly when the end-results are devastating, such as neonaticide or mother/child homicide-suicide. Any psychiatric pathology can be exacerbated by pregnancy, but in particular those related to mood and anxiety. The singular mother-fetus relationship is currently being analyzed more and more frequently. It is well known how genetic transmission may affect the characteristics in the unborn, but the environmental aspect must not be neglected. If they are biological or relational, they play a very important role in the interaction with genetic bases. The present paper will analyze the state of art about possible links between pregnancy and psychiatric illness, with special attention to biological mechanism as a risk factor for exacerbation of a pre-existing condition. Moreover, paying special attention to the effects of psychiatric illness in pregnancy, to the effects of alcohol or illicit drugs, not neglecting side-effects of psychiatric drug intake, we will try to offer an overview of fetal outcomes.

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