Murdoch University Research Repository

Welcome to the Murdoch University Research Repository

The Murdoch University Research Repository is an open access digital collection of research
created by Murdoch University staff, researchers and postgraduate students.

Learn more

The association between gestational diabetes mellitus, antipsychotics and severe mental illness in pregnancy: A multicentre study

Galbally, M.ORCID: 0000-0003-3909-1918, Frayne, J., Watson, S.J.ORCID: 0000-0001-7228-3490, Morgan, V. and Snellen, M. (2020) The association between gestational diabetes mellitus, antipsychotics and severe mental illness in pregnancy: A multicentre study. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 60 (1). pp. 63-69.

Free to read:
*No subscription required



There have been conflicting findings for severe mental illnesses and the risk for gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM). Outside of pregnancy, both severe mental illnesses and specific antipsychotic medications have been associated with an elevated risk for metabolic disorders, including type 2 diabetes mellitus.


This study examined the risk of developing GDM in relation to mental disorder, psychotropic treatment and comorbid risk factors.

Materials and Methods

A retrospective study of 539 pregnant women with mental disorders was carried out. Measures included GDM diagnosis, mental health diagnosis, psychotropic medication, body mass index, age, smoking, alcohol and illicit substance use.


This study found that women with psychotic disorders had a significantly elevated risk for GDM (20.9%) compared with women with non‐psychotic severe mental illnesses during pregnancy (P = 0.023), and nearly threefold the expected population rate (8.3%). Furthermore, women using specific antipsychotic agents – risperidone (P = 0.016), clozapine (P < 0.001) and higher‐dose quetiapine (P = 0.029) – also had a higher risk of developing GDM. After adjusting for maternal age and body mass index, women taking these specific agents continued to have a fourfold risk of having GDM compared with women not taking these agents. Smoking, alcohol consumption and illicit drug use were not associated with elevated GDM rate in women with mental disorders.


These findings support the need for early screening and closer surveillance of metabolic risk in pregnancy for women with psychotic disorders and those taking specific atypical antipsychotic agents.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Psychology, Counselling, Exercise Science and Chiropractic
Publisher: Wiley
Copyright: © 2019 The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
Item Control Page Item Control Page