OBJECTIVE: The authors determined the risk of suicide during pregnancy.
METHOD: The autopsy reports of all female residents of New York City, 10-44
years old, who committed suicide from 1990 to 1993 were assessed for
pregnancy. These data were compared with age-adjusted and race- adjusted
standardized mortality ratios for women, which were calculated by using
population data from the 1990 U.S. Census as well as data obtained from the
New York City Health Department on the number of live births, spontaneous
abortions, and induced abortions. RESULTS: The standardized mortality ratio
for suicide during pregnancy was 0.33; that is, the number of suicides of
pregnant women was only one-third of that expected. CONCLUSIONS: Despite
the mood swings and stresses associated with pregnancy and impending
childbirth, pregnant women have a significantly lower risk of suicide than
women of childbearing age who are not pregnant.