This article reviews data about how schizophrenia affects sexuality, pregnancy, the puerperium, parenting, and family planning. Women with schizophrenia have high rates of coerced sex, sexual risk behavior, and unwanted pregnancies. High rates of obstetric complications and custody loss increase morbidity for women and their offspring. Since untreated psychosis increases these problems, the risks of withholding pharmacotherapy must be weighed against the risks of prescribing medications during pregnancy. The puerperium is a time when women are especially vulnerable to exacerbations of schizophrenia. Mothers with schizophrenia may have a reduced ability to read children's cues, and they often have weak social support networks. Their children may be more difficult to raise than other children. Parenting rehabilitation can address some of these problems. Often, women with schizophrenia who are sexually active and do not wish to become pregnant do not use contraception. Incorporating family planning measures into mental health care delivery systems may reduce unwanted pregnancies.
Schizophrenia Bulletin – Oxford University Press
Published: Jan 1, 1997
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