The impact of neuropsychiatric disease on fetal growth: a case–control study

  • Lara Südekum
  • Anke Redlich
  • Anja Radusch
  • Sven Seeger
  • Siegfried Kropf
  • Ligang Zhou
  • Serban-Dan Costa
  • Gerhard Jorch
  • Anke RissmannEmail author
Maternal-Fetal Medicine



To determine the impact of depression, epilepsy and drug abuse during pregnancy on delivery and fetal outcome. Due to the worldwide increasing prevalence of neurological and psychiatric diseases and drug abuse, the number of affected pregnant women is increasing.


A large-scale retrospective case–control analysis of pregnancies affected by depression, epilepsy or drug abuse with and without medication was conducted in two German perinatal centres between 2013 and 2017. The case group consisted of 706 pregnant women who had a diagnosis of depression, epilepsy or drug abuse vs. 12,574 pregnant women without neuropsychiatric diagnosis (control group). The analysis included the rate of intrauterine growth restriction, birth weight and length, neonatal head circumference.


Significant differences in the subgroups were found in the parameters intrauterine growth restriction, birth weight, length and head circumference. Women with epilepsy were affected less often than women with depression and substance abuse. Major differences were found in the group of women with substance abuse. Negative associations were found within the non-pharmacologically managed disease group itself compared to women exposed to medication.


The present results demonstrated a negative association between maternal neurological or psychiatric disease and pregnancy outcome in the examined parameters. However, the non-pharmacologically treated maternal disease was identified as a risk factor itself.


Germany Case–control study Neuropsychiatric disease Pregnancy outcome Perinatal outcome Birth parameters 


Author contributions

GJ: critical revision of the article, final approval. SDC: critical revision of the article, final approval. SK: statistical support, critical revision of the article, final approval. SS: data collection, critical revision of the article, final approval. AR: data collection, critical revision of the article, final approval. AR: data collection, critical revision of the article, final approval. LZ: data collection, critical revision of the article, final approval. AR: project development, data collection, data analysis and interpretation, critical revision of the article, final approval. LS: project development, data collection, data analysis and interpretation, manuscript writing.


This paper was Lara Südekum’s doctoral thesis, and she obtained financial support from the Otto-von-Guericke-University Medical Faculty Magdeburg, Germany, as a doctoral scholarship.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

The institutional Ethics Committee of the Medical Faculty of the Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg (113/14), Germany approved the study. All procedures performed in this study were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

For this retrospective type of study formal consent was not required. Requirement for inform consent has been waived by the institutional Ethics Committee due to the retrospective nature of the study, and pseudonymization of data.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Malformation Monitoring Centre Saxony-Anhalt, Medical Faculty Otto-von-Guericke-University MagdeburgMagdeburgGermany
  2. 2.Department of Obstetrics and GynaecologyOtto-von-Guericke-University MagdeburgMagdeburgGermany
  3. 3.Department of Gynaecology and ObstetricsPerinatal CentreHalle/SaaleGermany
  4. 4.Institute for Biometry and Medical InformaticsOtto-von-Guericke-University MagdeburgMagdeburgGermany
  5. 5.Department of NeonatologyChongqing Maternal and Child Health HospitalChongqingChina
  6. 6.Department of PaediatricsOtto-von-Guericke-University MagdeburgMagdeburgGermany

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