In utero exposure to antipsychotic medication and psychiatric outcomes in the offspring

Natalie C. Momen*, Thalia Robakis, Xiaoqin Liu, Abraham Reichenberg, Veerle Bergink, Trine Munk-Olsen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Information on neurodevelopmental effects of antenatal exposure to antipsychotics is limited to 10 studies, all examining children up to 5 years of age or less. The paper aimed to investigate the association between in utero exposure to antipsychotics and psychiatric outcomes in children using Danish nationwide registers. In total, 9011 liveborn singletons born 1998–2015 in Denmark whose mothers took antipsychotic medication before pregnancy were identified. Children whose mothers continued to take antipsychotics during pregnancy were compared with children of mothers who discontinued antipsychotics before pregnancy. As a negative control, paternal antipsychotic use in the same window was investigated. Hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated using Cox proportional hazards regression for the primary outcome of psychiatric disorders, as well for subcategories of psychiatric disorders. In total, 9.9% of children in the discontinuation group and 11.0% of children in the continuation group received a psychiatric disorder diagnosis during follow-up. The adjusted HR for psychiatric disorders among offspring in the continuation group compared to the discontinuation group was 1.10 (95% CI 0.93–1.30). For antipsychotic use in the fathers, the HR was 1.05 (95% CI 0.89–1.24). The study does not provide evidence of increased risk of psychiatric disorders among children of women who continue antipsychotic treatment during pregnancy. This was observed after accounting for the underlying risk conferred by maternal psychiatric disorders. This suggests women who need to continue antipsychotic medications during pregnancy can do so without adverse psychiatric outcomes for offspring.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)759-766
Number of pages8
Issue number3
Early online date8 Nov 2021
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
NCM, TR, XL, TMO, and VB are supported by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) (R01MH122869). XL is also supported by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No 891079. TMO is supported by iPSYCH, the Lundbeck Foundation Initiative for Integrative Psychiatric Research (R155-2014-1724), The Lundbeck Foundation (R313-2019-569), AUFF NOVA (AUFF-E 2016-9-25), and Fabrikant Vilhelm Pedersen og Hustrus Legat. VB has received funding from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (clinical fellow and VENI incentive). The investigators conducted the research independently. The funders had no role in the design and conduct of the study; collection, management, analysis, and interpretation of the data; preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript; or the decision to submit the manuscript for publication.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to American College of Neuropsychopharmacology.


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