Obstetric conditions and risk of first admission with schizophrenia: A Danish national register based study

Majella Byrne, Esben Agerbo, Birgit Bennedsen, William W. Eaton, Preben Bo Mortensen

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135 Scopus citations


A range of complications of pregnancy, abnormal fetal growth and development, and complications of delivery have been associated with increased risk of schizophrenia. Few studies have been able to adjust for a broad range of potential confounding factors. A national population nested case-control study based on Danish longitudinal registers was conducted to investigate the risk of schizophrenia associated with exposure to a range of obstetric events. The sample included 1039 first admissions to, or contacts with Danish psychiatric services with an ICD-8 or ICD-10 diagnosis of schizophrenia and 24, 826 individually matched controls. Adjusting for the other obstetric factors, family psychiatric history, and socio-economic and demographic factors, risk of schizophrenia was associated with maternal non-attendance at antenatal appointments (Incidence Rate Ratio (IRR) 2.08, 95% CI: 1.0, 4.4), gestational age of 37 weeks or below (IRR 1.51, 95% CI: 1.0, 2.2), maternal influenza (IRR 8.2, 95% CI: 1.4, 48.8), preeclampsia (IRR 2.72, 95% CI: 1.0, 7.3), threatened premature delivery (IRR 2.39, 95% CI: 1.4, 4.1), haemorrhage during delivery (IRR 2.43, 95% CI: 1.1, 5.6), manual extraction of the baby (IRR 2.15, 95% CI: 1.1, 4.4), and maternal sepsis of childbirth and the puerperium (IRR 2.91, 95% CI: 1.1, 7.9). There was no significant interaction between the obstetric factors and either sex or family psychiatric history. The data suggest a modest association between prematurity, indicators of hypoxia, maternal infections, and maternal behaviours and risk of the later development of schizophrenia after adjusting for a number of possible confounding factors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)51-59
Number of pages9
JournalSchizophrenia Research
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - Dec 2007


  • Nested case-control studies
  • Obstetric complications
  • Risk factors
  • Schizophrenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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