For women, the opportunity to bring life into this world is among the rarest and most special privileges. Given that, none of us is the same, and many of us battle with ailments and conditions. With that said, a woman with schizoaffective disorder should never forfeit her ability to experience this special gift. But for those who have the disorder, does it affect their pregnancy in a certain way?
A King’s College London study found that 1 in 4 pregnant women struggled with mental health problems, a number much higher than previously thought. The study, believed to be the first in-depth analysis on the topic, showed that 25 percent of pregnant women had mental health disorders, not just depression. Although bipolar disorders and schizoaffective disorder are found in less than 1 percent of women, it can be a serious issue.
Many women with psychotic disorders have children, but their pregnancies are at risk of adverse psychiatric and fetal outcomes, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). There has been an increase in pregnancies among women diagnosed with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder. Research regarding their reproductive health is scarce and limited by modest sample sizes, but schizoaffective women less often have a partner or spouse.
How Common Is Schizoaffective Disorder?
Statistics show that about 1 in every 200 people will develop schizoaffective disorder at some point in their lives. It is one of the most common psychiatric disorders, and hospital beds are occupied with individuals diagnosed with this condition more than any other psychiatric disorder. As you might expect, those with schizoaffective disorder can engage in mental health treatment to dramatically improve their well-being.
Schizoaffective disorder is rare, but men and women experience the condition at the same rate. The difference is men are diagnosed at an earlier age. Proper care and medication can manage schizoaffective, but women diagnosed with the disorder must speak with their primary care physician before conceiving a baby due to its severity.
Symptoms of Schizoaffective Disorder
The symptoms will vary significantly from one person to another. While some may experience mild symptoms, another person could deal with severe outcomes. If you are someone who is experiencing severe symptoms, it could put your unborn child at risk. If you experience any of the symptoms listed below, you must speak with a mental health professional for the child’s safety.
Substance Abuse and Schizoaffective Disorder
Individuals with severe mental illness, such as schizoaffective disorder, are at a higher risk of substance use, especially smoking cigarettes. Since some of the symptoms of schizoaffective disorder are mania and risky behavior, someone diagnosed with the condition who is pregnant may engage in behavior that can harm their child.
Schizoaffective disorder is much different for pregnant women because of the risks to their unborn child. If you have the disorder and would like to have a baby, speak with a mental health professional to determine your best course of action.