This paper presents an overview of the recent literature on the association between prenatal and perinatal complications (PPCs) and schizophrenia, then systematically reviews papers published later than 1965 examining the association of PPCs and bipolar disorder. Three of the four studies comparing bipolar cases with normal controls indicated a positive association of PPCs with the development of bipolar disorder in adult life; the four odds ratios ranged from 1.0 to 12.0. The proportion of PPCs among the bipolar samples without comparison subjects ranged from 3.8% to 50.0%. Issues of study design, measurement and severity of exposure, and outcome are addressed. This review suggests that further investigation of genetic interactions, gender diVerences, and the specificity of eVects in the association between PPCs and mental disorders other than schizophrenia is warranted. (C) 1999 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.