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Father involvement in pregnancy could reduce infant mortality
Date:6/17/2010

ck women whose babies' fathers were absent during their pregnancies. Even after adjusting for socioeconomic differences, these babies were seven times more likely to die in infancy than babies born to Hispanic and white women in the same situation.

  • Obstetric complications contributing to premature births, such as anemia, chronic high blood pressure, eclampsia and placental abruption, were more prevalent among women whose babies' fathers were absent during pregnancy.

  • Expectant mothers in the father-absent group tended to be younger, more educated, more likely to never have given birth, more likely to be black, and had a higher percentage of risk factors like smoking and inadequate prenatal care than mothers in the father-involved group.

    Paternal support may decrease the mother's emotional stress, which has been linked to poor pregnancy outcomes, or promote healthy prenatal behavior, Dr. Alio suggested. For instance, some studies, including USF's, indicate that pregnant women with absent partners are more likely to report smoking during pregnancy and get inadequate prenatal care. Barriers to expectant fathers' involvement in the lives of their pregnant partners, including issues like unemployment, relationship status, and participation in prenatal visits, must be examined to increase the role of men during pregnancy, she said.

    Improving the involvement of expectant fathers holds promise for reducing costly medical treatments for the complications of premature births as well as reducing infant mortality rates, particularly in black communities, Dr. Alio said. "When fathers are involved, children thrive in school and in their development. So, it should be no surprise that when fathers are present in the lives of pregnant mothers, babies fare much better."


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  • Contact: Anne DeLotto Baier
    abaier@health.usf.edu
    813-974-3300
    University of South Florida (USF Health)
    Source:Eurekalert  

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