BACKGROUND : Maternal antenatal depression may alter offspring neurodevelopment, but long follow-up studies are lacking. We studied the risks for mood disorders and schizophrenia in adult offspring of antenatally depressed mothers, taking account parental severe mental disorders. METHODS : In the general population-based Northern Finland 1966 Birth Cohort with 12,058 children, 13.9% of the mothers reported themselves depressed at mid-gestation. The offspring were followed 43 years. Severe mood disorders and schizophrenia in the offspring and severe mental disorders in the parents were detected using the Care Register for Healthcare. Maternal smoking during pregnancy, perinatal complications, fathers´ social class, family type at birth, and grand multiparity were considered as confounding variables. RESULTS : The offspring of antenatally depressed mothers had an elevated risk for depression (adjusted OR 1.5; 95% CI 1.03-2.2), compared to cohort members without maternal antenatal depressed mood. The offspring with maternal antenatal depressed mood and parental severe mental disorder had markedly elevated risks for depression (3.3; 1.8-6.2), and schizophrenia (3.9; 2.0-7.5), compared to the offspring without one or both of these risk factors. CONCLUSIONS : Maternal antenatal depressed mood was determined by one question and did not necessarily signify a clinical condition. Data on maternal postnatal mood was not available. CONCLUSIONS : The offspring with maternal antenatal depressed mood and parental severe mental disorder had high risk for depression and schizophrenia. Early interventions in parental severe mental disorder might present an opportunity for decreasing the risk for mood disorders and schizophrenia in the offspring.