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Postpartum psychiatric disorders are heritable, but how genetic liability varies by other significant risk factors is unknown. We aimed to (1) estimate associations of genetic risk scores (GRS) for major depression (MD), bipolar disorder (BD), and schizophrenia (SCZ) with postpartum psychiatric disorders, (2) examine differences by prior psychiatric history, and (3) compare genetic and familial risk of postpartum psychiatric disorders. We conducted a nested case-control study based on Danish population-based registers of all women in the iPSYCH2012 cohort who had given birth before December 31, 2015 (n = 8850). Cases were women with a diagnosed psychiatric disorder or a filled psychotropic prescription within one year after delivery (n = 5829 cases, 3021 controls). Association analyses were conducted between GRS calculated from Psychiatric Genomics Consortium discovery meta-analyses for MD, BD, and SCZ and case-control status of a postpartum psychiatric disorder. Parental psychiatric history was associated with postpartum psychiatric disorders among women with previous psychiatric history (OR, 1.14; 95% CI 1.02-1.28) but not without psychiatric history (OR, 1.08; 95% CI: 0.81-1.43). GRS for MD was associated with an increased risk of postpartum psychiatric disorders in both women with (OR, 1.44; 95% CI: 1.19-1.74) and without (OR, 1.88; 95% CI: 1.26-2.81) personal psychiatric history. SCZ GRS was only minimally associated with postpartum disorders and BD GRS was not. Results suggest GRS of lifetime psychiatric illness can be applied to the postpartum period, which may provide clues about distinct environmental or genetic elements of postpartum psychiatric disorders and ultimately help identify vulnerable groups.

Original publication




Journal article


Transl Psychiatry

Publication Date





Adult, Bipolar Disorder, Case-Control Studies, Cohort Studies, Denmark, Depressive Disorder, Major, Female, Genetic Predisposition to Disease, Humans, Logistic Models, Medical History Taking, Postpartum Period, Puerperal Disorders, Registries, Risk Factors, Schizophrenia, Young Adult