WINNIPEG — A study by researchers at the University of Manitoba has linked giving birth to children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder to an increased risk of suicide attempts and deaths.
Principal investigator Deepa Singal, a PhD candidate at the University of Manitoba, says the social and health challenges faced by mothers of children with FASD place them at increased risk for suicide.
The study, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, analyzed anonymous health data from the university’s Manitoba Centre for Health Policy.
It compared health information of about 700 mothers of children with FASD to 2,100 mothers of children without an FASD diagnosis.
In addition to a higher risk of suicide attempt and deaths, the study also found mothers of children with FASD have higher rates of poverty, single parenthood, mental disorders and alcohol use, and that the increased suicide risk did not occur during pregnancy and the first year of the baby’s life.
Singal said the study highlights the importance of providing mental health supports for mothers who drank alcohol while pregnant.
“Identifying groups of women who are at risk for suicidal behaviour is crucial for developing effective suicide-prevention strategies,” said Singal.