June 1960

Fetal Damage Due to ECT, Insulin Coma, Chlorpromazine, or Reserpine

Author Affiliations

New York
From the Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and New York State Psychiatric. Institute.

AMA Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1960;2(6):606-611. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1960.03590120014002

Various somatic therapies are frequently used in the treatment of emotionally disturbed women who are also pregnant. Many have asked whether such therapies are harmful to the human fetus. Interestingly enough, no study has been published of the effects of chlorpromazine or reserpine (Serpasil) which specifically attempts to answer this question in humans. A few reports have appeared on the use of electroshock and insulin coma therapies in pregnancy; of these articles, none has surveyed more than a small number of cases, and no control data have been obtained. The studies to be reported in this paper are based on a review of the records of 110 women who were treated while pregnant and who delivered in eight New York State mental hospitals from 1949 through 1958. Two hundred two nontreated women who were pregnant and delivered in the same hospitals during the same period of

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