Deviant intrauterine growth and risk of schizophrenia: a 34-year follow-up of the Northern Finland 1966 Birth Cohort

Schizophr Res. 2010 Dec;124(1-3):223-30. doi: 10.1016/j.schres.2010.09.006. Epub 2010 Oct 8.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Birth Weight*
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
  • Female
  • Fetal Development*
  • Finland / epidemiology
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant, Low Birth Weight
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Odds Ratio
  • Pregnancy
  • Registries / statistics & numerical data
  • Risk Factors
  • Schizophrenia / diagnosis
  • Schizophrenia / epidemiology*
  • Schizophrenia / etiology*