Project details


Perinatal care in women with a psychiatric disorder

perinatal care and psychiatry

dr. J.J.H. Eijsink
dr F. Jörg

Type of project:
Stage Wetenschap / Research project

Nature of the research:
Prospective observational cross-sectional study

Fields of study:

Background / introduction
Psychiatric disorders in women are common during the reproductive years (1). Pregnancy is a major life event and this can destabilize women with a psychiatric disorder. On the other hand parenting gives a meaning to life and may support recovery. Acknowledging this big change in life and discussing appropriate care or support is needed, to prevent relapse and help parents prepare for parenting. Monitoring, counselling, medication switch, contraceptive advise should be supported by psychiatric caregivers. To date, it is not known to what extent caregivers have sufficient knowledge and skills to optimize preconception care for women with a psychiatric disorder in the Netherlands.
Pregnant women with psychosocial risk factors have an increased risk for adverse infant outcomes (2). For example, pregnant women with schizophrenia have an increased risk for small gestational age, low Apgar score and preterm birth; a proportion of this increased risk is explained by modifiable risk factors like smoking (3). In addition, these adverse birth outcomes are associated with later onset of psychosis (4). Little is known about how to deliver the optimal care for women with a psychiatric disorder, who want to have children (5). Mental health workers need to be prepared for this clinical challenge. We need to investigate caregivers’ knowledge and skills in supporting these patients in everyday practice. The main goal of optimizing health care for women with psychiatric disorder considering pregnancy, is supporting women in making well-informed choices.
Research question / problem definition
What are knowledge and skills of mental health workers regarding pregnancy in relation to psychiatric disorders, and to what extent do they feel comfortable in discussing pregnancy and related topics with patients with a psychiatric disorder?
The research question will be examined with a questionnaire under caregivers working in mental healthcare. The student will be involved in developing, processing and analyzing. The data will be summarized in a report.
1. Contraception for Women With Psychiatric Disorders. L.R. McCloskey et al. Am J Psychiatry, 2021.
2. Associations between pre-pregnancy psychosocial risk factors and infant outcomes: a population-based cohort study in England. K. Harron et al. Lancet Public Health, 2021.
3. Maternal schizophrenia and adverse birth outcomes: what mediates the risk? S.N. Vigod et al. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 2020.
4. Prenatal and perinatal risk and protective factors for psychosis: a systematic review and meta-analysis. C. Davies et al. Lancet Psychiatry, 2020.
5. Perinatal mental health: a review of progress and challenges. L.M. Howard, H. Khalifeh, World Psychiatry, 2020
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