Background: Low birth weight conveys a modest risk for schizophrenia. The effects of high birth weight and deviant birth length are less clear.
Methods: We linked perinatal data from 10,934 subjects from the Northern Finland 1966 Birth Cohort (n = 12 058) to the Finnish Hospital Discharge Register where we identified 111 cases of DSM-III-R schizophrenia up to age 35 years. Adjusted odds ratios between the risk of schizophrenia and birth weight, birth length and ponderal index and the risk of schizophrenia were analyzed.
Results: Both low (OR 2.5; 95% CI 1.2-5.1) and high birth weight (OR 2.4; 95% CI 1.1-4.9) increased the risk of later schizophrenia. In addition, short (OR 2.6; 95% CI 1.1-5.9) and long babies had an elevated risk of schizophrenia as adults (OR 1.8; 95% CI 1.0-3.5). A reverse J-shape curve described the associations between birth weight, length and schizophrenia.
Conclusions: Deviant intrauterine growth of the fetus in either direction was associated with increased risk of schizophrenia.
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