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 mental illness, psychotropic medication use and hypertensive disorders in pregnancy: A multicentre study

Frayne, J., Watson, S.ORCID: 0000-0001-7228-3490, Snellen, M., Nguyen, T. and Galbally, M.ORCID: 0000-0003-3909-1918 (2021) The association between mental illness, psychotropic medication use and hypertensive disorders in pregnancy: A multicentre study. Pregnancy Hypertension, 24 . pp. 22-26.

Link to Published Version:
*Subscription may be required



Women with severe mental illnesses (SMI) may have elevated rates of hypertensive disorders in pregnancy (HDP) due to an accumulation of risk factors. This study aims to determine the prevalence rate of HPD within a population of women with SMI and to report on rates within different mental illness diagnoses and types of medication exposure.

Study design

A retrospective multicentre study of 521 pregnant women attending specialised antenatal clinics for the management of established SMI.

Main outcome measures

Measures included sociodemographic characteristics, pregnancy complications, mental health diagnosis and psychotropic medication use.


Overall, 14% of women in the study had HDP. Compared to women with non-affective psychotic and other non-psychotic disorders (10.3%), women with depression and anxiety disorders demonstrated an increased risk of having a diagnosis of HDP (18.8%; RR = 1.82 [95% CI: 1.01, 3.29], p = .048). Log-binomial regression demonstrated that both a BMI in the overweight and obese range (RR = 3.37 [95% CI: 1.04, 10.95], p = .044) and continuous SNRI treatment throughout pregnancy (RR = 2.79 [95% CI; 1.33, 5.83], p = .006) were significant predictors of HDP, after adjusting for maternal age, gestational diabetes, and other mental health diagnoses.


Women with severe mental illnesses have elevated risk of developing HPD. Management remains complex and should address their comorbid risk profiles, and weigh up the risks and benefits of psychotropic medication use, given these results provide evidence of elevated rates of HDP associated with exposure to SNRI when taken throughout pregnancy.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Psychology, Counselling, Exercise Science and Chiropractic
Publisher: Elsevier BV
Copyright: © 2021 International Society for the Study of Hypertension in Pregnancy.
Item Control Page Item Control Page