NYMC Faculty Publications

Got Daddy Issues? Fathers Impact on Perinatal Outcomes

Journal Title

Seminars in Perinatology

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Second Department

Health Behavior and Community Health


Mothers' genetics as well as their environment, behaviors, and social determinants of health are all important factors influencing short and long term childhood outcomes. There is an emerging body of literature investigating the extent to which fathers also contribute to their offspring's future health. We review fathers' impact on short term birth outcomes, longer term health, and neurodevelopment to emphasize the inter-relatedness of individual paternal traits. Factors that are linked to offspring outcomes include paternal demographics, race, stress, marriage and support, mental health, and the baseline health and behaviors of fathers. Several methodologic issues exist in current research such as maternal report of paternal information. Mechanisms proposed regarding paternal effect on progeny health range from genetic to reduction of stress of mothers through support. These are varied, possibly inter-related, and difficult to isolate as a single etiology. Future initiatives need to support fathers to allow them to support their families.

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