NYMC Faculty Publications

Impact of Paternal Presence and Parental Social-Demographic Characteristics on Birth Outcomes

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Journal of Perinatal Medicine

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Second Department

Health Behavior and Community Health


OBJECTIVES: Maternal race, marital status, and social environment impact risk of preterm delivery and size for gestational age. Although some paternal characteristics such as age are associated with pregnancy outcomes, the influence of the paternal presence, race/ethnicity and adverse life events is not well known. The objective of the study was to assess birth outcomes in mothers with a paternal presence compared to those without during the post-partum period. The secondary aim was to determine whether paternal race is associated with birth outcomes.

METHODS: This was a cross-sectional study using parental surveys linked with birth certificate data from 2016 to 2018. Adverse birth composite outcomes (ABCO) including small for gestational age (SGA), prematurity or neonatal intensive care unit admission (NICU) were assessed.

RESULTS: A total of 695 parents were analyzed (239 single mothers and 228 mother-father pairs). Compared to mothers with a father present, mothers without a father present exhibited increased odds of ABCO, prematurity and NICU. Non-Hispanic Black fathers had increased odds of ABCO and NICU compared to Non-Hispanic Whites (NHW). Hispanic fathers had increased odds of NICU compared to NHW.

CONCLUSIONS: Paternal absence in the post-partum period and paternal race were both independently associated with ABCO and NICU. Assessment of paternal presence and paternal race in clinical practice may help identify opportunities for additional support necessary to optimize birth outcomes.