The current study investigated whether sufficient attendance at prenatal and postnatal checks affects the risk of sudden infant death syndrome. A case-control study in the Tyrol enrolled 99 infants with sudden infant death syndrome that occurred between 1984 and 1994, and 136 randomly selected control cases. The risk of sudden infant death syndrome was higher in infants whose mothers attended less than five antenatal health checks than in the group with at least five or more visits (OR 5.1; p < 0.01). Babies who received medical help beyond routine health controls had a lower risk than those who did not (OR 0.32; p < 0.001). These differences persisted when social and demographic variables (mother's age at delivery, educational level, marital status, parity and gestational age) were taken into account. Our study identified inadequate antenatal and postnatal care as a risk indicator for sudden infant death syndrome and as a potential target for further educational work. Clinical recommendations should await the results of further evaluations.