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BACKGROUND: There have been many reports of a higher incidence of 'obstetric complications' in the histories of schizophrenics than of controls, but because of the methodological shortcomings of most of these comparisons the relationship remains controversial. METHOD: Comprehensive records covering all psychiatric hospital admissions and all hospital deliveries in Scotland since 1971 made it possible to identify the obstetric records of people born in 1971-74 who were subsequently admitted to hospital with a diagnosis of schizophrenia, and then to compare their standardised obstetric records with those of closely matched controls. RESULTS: One hundred and fifteen schizophrenic/control pairs were compared. The former showed a highly significant (P < 0.001) excess of complications of both pregnancy and delivery. In particular, there was a significant excess of pre-eclampsia (10 v. 2) and of infants detained in hospital for neonatal care (18 v. 6). CONCLUSION: The raised incidence of obstetric complications often reported in people with schizophrenia is genuine and probably contributes to the aetiology of the condition.


Journal article


Br J Psychiatry

Publication Date





556 - 561


Adolescent, Adult, Brain Damage, Chronic, Case-Control Studies, Child, Female, Humans, Infant, Newborn, Male, Neurocognitive Disorders, Obstetric Labor Complications, Patient Admission, Pregnancy, Psychiatric Status Rating Scales, Risk Factors, Schizophrenia, Schizophrenic Psychology, Scotland