Purpose: To investigate those ante- and perinatal circumstances preceding suicide attempts and suicides, which have so far not been studied intensively.
Methods: Examination of the Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1966 (n = 10,742), originally based on antenatal questionnaire data and now followed up from mid-pregnancy to age 39, to ascertain psychiatric disorders in the parents and offspring and suicides or attempted suicides in the offspring using nationwide registers.
Results: A total of 121 suicide attempts (57 males) and 69 suicides (56 males) had occurred. Previously unstudied antenatal factors (maternal depressed mood and smoking, unwanted pregnancy) were not related to these after adjustment. Psychiatric disorders in the parents and offspring were the risk factors in both genders. When adjusted for these, the statistically significant risk factors among males were a single-parent family for suicide attempts (OR 3.71, 95% CI 1.62-8.50) and grand multiparity for suicides (OR 2.67, 95% CI 1.15-6.18). When a psychiatric disorder in females was included among possible risk factors for suicide attempts, it alone remained significant (OR 15.55, 8.78-27.53).
Conclusions: A single-parent family was a risk factor for attempted suicides and grand multiparity for suicides in male offspring even after adjusting for other ante- and perinatal circumstances and mental disorders in the parents and offspring. Mothers' antenatal depressed mood and smoking and unwanted pregnancy did not increase the risk of suicide, which is a novel finding.