Poverty and InequalitySexual and Reproductive HealthFamily, Maternal & Child HealthMethodology

Paternal involvement and support and risk of preterm birth: findings from the Boston birth cohort

TitlePaternal involvement and support and risk of preterm birth: findings from the Boston birth cohort
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsSurkan, PJ, Dong, L, Ji, Y, Hong, X, Ji, H, Kimmel, M, Tang, WY, Wang, X
JournalJ Psychosom Obstet Gynaecol
Date PublishedNov 16
ISBN Number0167-482x
Accession Number29144191
KeywordsBirth outcomes, Paternal involvement, preterm birth, small-for-gestational age, Social Support

OBJECTIVE: To investigate to what extent paternal involvement and support during pregnancy were associated with preterm (PTB) and small-for-gestational age (SGA) births. METHODS: Using data from the Boston Birth Cohort (n = 7047), multiple logistic regression models were performed to estimate the log odds of either PTB or SGA birth, with paternal involvement, paternal social support, and family and friend social support variables as the primary independent variables. RESULTS: About 10% of participating mothers reported their husbands not being involved or supportive during their pregnancies. Lack of paternal involvement was associated with 21% higher risk of PTB (OR = 1.21, 95% CI: 1.01-1.45). Similarly, lack of paternal support was borderline associated with PTB (OR = 1.13, 95% CI: 0.94-1.35). Also marginally significant, lack of paternal involvement (OR = 1.18, 95% CI: 0.95-1.47) and father's support (OR = 1.19, 95% CI: 0.96-1.48) were associated with higher odds of SGA birth. No associations were found between familial and friend support during pregnancy and PTB or SGA. CONCLUSIONS: Among predominantly low-income African Americans, lack of paternal involvement and lack of paternal support during pregnancy were associated with an increased risk of PTB, and suggestive of SGA birth. These findings, if confirmed in future research, underscore the important role a father can play in reducing PTB and/or SGA.