Background: Women with schizophrenia have increased exposure to risk factors for congenital malformations, stillbirths, and infant deaths among their children. However, the occurrence of these outcomes is unknown.
Methods: The risks of stillbirth and infant death among 2230 children of women with schizophrenia were compared with the risks among 123 544 children in the general population. The risk of congenital malformations among 746 children of women with schizophrenia were compared with the risk among 56 106 children in the general population. The year of birth, the sex of the child, the mother's age, and parity were included in the analyses as potential confounders. We had no information about socioeconomic status, smoking status, substance abuse, or psychotropic medication use.
Results: Children of women with schizophrenia had increased risk of postneonatal death (relative risk [RR], 2.76; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.67-4.56). This was largely explained by an increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome (RR, 5.23; 95% CI, 2.82-9.69). There was no statistically significant increased risk of stillbirth (RR, 1.51; 95% CI, 0.94-2.40) or neonatal death (RR, 1.26; CI, 0.77-2.06). Children of women with schizophrenia had a marginally statistically significant increase in the risk of congenital malformations (RR, 1.70; 95% CI, 1.04-2.77).
Conclusions: Children of women with schizophrenia have a considerable increased risk of death caused by sudden infant death syndrome. However, the results should be interpreted in the light of failure to adjust for socioeconomic status, substance abuse, smoking status, and psychotropic medication use.