Women with Poor Mental Health 50% more likely to Have Premature Babies

Women with Poor Mental Health 50% more likely to Have Premature Babies

New findings from top universities show that Women with Poor Mental Health are 50% more likely to Have Premature Babies. The research was conducted by the University of Exeter and King’s College and published in The Lancet Psychiatry.

The authors scrutinized data from over two million pregnancies, revealing worrying patterns. Essentially, those recently involved with mental health clinics were more prone to early births. 

According to the research paper, about 1 in 10 women who reached out to mental health professionals had early deliveries, compared to 1 in 15 who did not have such interactions. 

Another concerning detail is that these women were also likelier to have babies with lower birth weights. For clarity, 75 out of every 1,000 such women faced this challenge, versus 65 out of every 1,000 of their counterparts. 

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“We need to be better at spotting pregnant women potentially at risk due to past mental health issues.” 

King’s College’s Professor Louise M Howard OBE voiced concerns about these insights. 

This research provides a more detailed view of correlations between mental health and pregnancy. The study analyzed data from 2014-2018 and found that 7.3% of women had consulted mental health professionals prior to pregnancy.

Those who had a history of psychiatric admissions or recent mental health interactions stood out as the most vulnerable.

“Medical professionals should pay special attention to pregnant women with prior mental health engagements, ensuring safer pregnancies.”

Professor Heather O’Mahen, from the University of Exeter

This research stresses the profound role of mental health in shaping pregnancy outcomes. It’s a call to action for better support and recognition for pregnant women grappling with mental health challenges. Addressing this can lead to a healthier start for mothers and newborns.


Langham J, Gurol-Urganci I, Muller P, et al. Obstetric and neonatal outcomes in pregnant women with and without a history of specialist mental health care: a national population-based cohort study using linked routinely collected data in England. Lancet Psychiat. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2215-0366(23)00200-6 

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