Children are at increased risk of schizophrenia, a severe mental disorder, if their parents had a short duration of marriage when the baby was conceived.
Researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai analysed data of 90,000 children born between 1964 and 1976. They found that offspring born of parents who were married for less than two years had a 50% more likelihood of developing schizophrenia. Offspring born to parents after two to four years of marriage had a lesser risk of 30% of developing the disorder. There is evidence to prove that shorter period of parental sexual relations before conception increases the risk of preeclampsia during pregnancy which in turn can cause mental disorders in the child at a later stage of its life.
Preeclampsia is caused by high blood pressure and presence of protein in urine during pregnancy period. People with schizophrenia may behave abnormally, have delusions, hallucinations and cognitive impairments. Previous research has shown that a lengthy pre-pregnancy period and increased exposure of vagina to sperm of offspring's father can nullify the mother's intolerance to paternal antigens considered a risk factor for preeclampsia.
Children developing schizophrenia was independent of whether parents suffered psychiatric disorders and their age at the time of conception of the child. Perhaps, parents may plan the pregnancy for their first-born child after three years of marriage to avoild possible mental disorders in the child at a later stage.