Out‐of‐home placement to age 18 years in children exposed to a postpartum mental disorder

Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, Wiley, ISSN 0001-690X

Volume 138, 1, 2018

DOI:10.1111/acps.12890, Dimensions: pub.1103422300, PMID: 29667167,



  1. (1) University of Toronto, grid.17063.33
  2. (2) Women's College Hospital, grid.417199.3
  3. (3) Lundbeck Foundation, grid.452548.a
  4. (4) Aarhus University, grid.7048.b, AU
  5. (5) University of Copenhagen, grid.5254.6, KU






North America


OBJECTIVES: Little is known about risk of custody loss or out-of-home placement among children whose mothers experience postpartum mental disorders, and whether this risk differs from that of children whose mothers had earlier onset of their mental disorder. METHODS: National Danish registers comprising 1 868 467 births (1982-2012) were used to determine how the timing of maternal illness onset influences out-of-home placement risk up to age 18 years among children exposed to a maternal mental disorder. RESULTS: Compared to children unexposed to maternal mental illness, risk was higher for children exposed to a maternal mental disorder whose mothers had a first contact for a mental disorder in the 0-12 months of predelivery (8.17/1000 person-years; aIRR 4.56, 95% CI 4.08-5.09), the first 3 months postpartum (4.60/1000 person-years; 3.55, 2.95-4.26) and 4-12 months postpartum (6.49/1000 person-years; 3.93, 3.50-4.41). Risk was even higher for children exposed to a maternal mental disorder when illness onset was more than 1-year predelivery (9.11/1000 person-years; 5.48, 5.32-5.66). CONCLUSION: Risk of out-home placement in children exposed to mothers with a new-onset postpartum mental disorder is almost as high as in children whose mothers have long-standing illness. A better understanding of the trajectories of these mothers and children is warranted.

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