Suicide and suicide attempts among women in the Manitoba Mothers and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder cohort: a retrospective matched analysis using linked administrative data
Women who give birth to children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) may be at increased risk for suicide; however, there are few data in this area. The objective of this study was to compare rates of suicide between women who had given birth to children with FASD and women who had not given birth to children with FASD during critical periods in their lives, including before pregnancy, during pregnancy, during the postpartum period (maternal death) and until the end of the study period.
The researchers conducted a retrospective cohort analysis of women with children born in Manitoba between Apr. 1, 1984, and Mar. 31, 2012 in whom FASD was diagnosed between Apr. 1, 1999, and Mar. 31, 2012, with follow-up until Dec. 1, 2013 (FASD group; n = 702).
The researchers generated a comparison group of women who had not given birth to children with FASD (n = 2097), matched up to 1:3 on date of birth of the index child, socioeconomic status and region of residence. The researchers used linked administrative data to investigate suicide attempt and completion rates in the 2 groups. Regression modelling produced relative rates (RRs) adjusted for socioeconomic status and age at birth of the index child and was used to assess suicide risk.
The 2799 participants produced 40 390.21 person-years until the end of the study period. Compared to the comparison group, the FASD group had higher rates of suicide completion (adjusted RR 6.20 [95% confidence interval (CI) 2.36–16.31]), a higher number of women who attempted suicide after the postpartum period until the end of the study period (adjusted RR 4.62 [95% CI 2.53–8.43]) and a higher number of attempts after the postpartum period until the end of the study period (adjusted RR 3.92 [95% CI 2.30–6.09]).
This study identified a group of women with increased rates of social complexities, mental disorders and alcohol use, which places them at risk for suicide.
Interventions are needed that screen for suicidal behaviour in women who are at high risk to consume alcohol during pregnancy and have mental disorders.