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Flu During Pregnancy Hikes Risk of Bipolar Baby

But risk is pretty small regardless
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted May 9, 2013 12:00 PM CDT
Flu During Pregnancy Hikes Risk of Bipolar Baby
Getting the flu while you're pregnant sucks in more ways than you realized.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Apparently getting sick while you're pregnant sucks in even more ways than you realized. Children are more likely to develop bipolar disorder later in life if their mothers caught the flu while pregnant, a new study published yesterday in JAMA Psychiatry suggests. The effect is fairly small, amounting to just a 3% to 4% bump in risk, and most people with bipolar disorder had no history of in utero flu. But it's an interesting finding because it echoes earlier research linking maternal flu with schizophrenia, the BBC observes.

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So how high on the Big List of Expectant Mother Concerns should this rank? "I wouldn't say high," the lead researcher admits. "The chances are quite small. I don't think it should raise alarms for mothers." But it does suggest that pregnant women would do well to get their flu shot—which is already recommended practice in many countries. (Read more bipolar disorder stories.)

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