Antipsychotic medication does not put pregnant women at risk of developing gestational diabetes, according to new research.
Antipsychotics are a powerful class of medication which can treat behavioural and mental health disorders, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
The use of antipsychotics is increasing during pregnancy and to treat other conditions such depression, but little research previously existed as to how the medication affected maternal health and birth outcomes.
A study conducted at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, Canada compared 1,021 pregnant women take antipsychotics during pregnancy to 1,021 women with similar age, mental health and medical characteristics who weren’t on medication.
The researchers observed no significant differences in risk for gestational diabetes between the groups, or other medical conditions such as gestational hypertensive disorders.
There were also no differences in risk for extremely high or low birth weights or preterm delivery, but women taking antipsychotics during pregnancy were more likely to require labour induction.
This study is believed to the largest to date that examines possible links between pregnancy and the impact of antipsychotic medications such as quetiapine, olanzapine and risperidone.
Dr. Simone Vigod, study author and adjunct scientist with ICES, said: “Our results are reassuring for women who require antipsychotic medication to maintain their mental health stability during pregnancy, at least with respect to short term maternal and infant outcomes.
“Research into longer term child outcomes will be needed to provide a full picture of the long term impact of antipsychotic exposure in a developing fetus,” Vigod added.
The results of this study were published in The BMJ.

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