A systematic review of the nutritional status of women of a childbearing age with severe mental illness
Little is known about the nutritional status of pregnant women with severe mental illness. We therefore carried out a systematic review to investigate whether pregnant women and childbearing aged women with severe mental illness have significantly greater nutritional deficiencies compared with pregnant women and childbearing aged women with no mental illness. We carried out a search using MEDLINE, EMBASE and PsycINFO from January 1980 to January 2011 for studies on nutritional status of childbearing aged women with psychotic disorders. Identification of papers and quality rating of papers (using a modified version of the Newcastle–Ottawa scale) was carried out by two reviewers independently. We identified and screened 4,130 potentially relevant studies from the electronic databases. Fifteen studies met the inclusion criteria (n = 587 women). There were no studies of pregnant women. There was some evidence of low serum folate and vitamin B12 levels and elevated homocysteine levels in childbearing aged women with psychotic disorders. Further research into the nutritional status of childbearing aged women with severe mental illness is needed. Maternal nutrition has a profound impact on foetal outcome, is a modifiable risk factor and therefore needs prioritising in the care of all childbearing aged women with severe mental illness.