Teenage Fathers Increase Risk of Adverse Birth Outcomes

February 8, 2008

Babies born to teenage fathers are at higher risk of adverse birth outcomes such as premature birth, low birth weight and mortality, independent of maternal factors, according to a report published online Feb. 6 in Human Reproduction.

FRIDAY, Feb. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Babies born to teenage fathers are at higher risk of adverse birth outcomes such as premature birth, low birth weight and mortality, independent of maternal factors, according to a report published online Feb. 6 in Human Reproduction.

Xi-Kuan Chen, M.D., Ph.D., and colleagues from the University of Ottawa in Ontario, Canada, examined the association between paternal age and adverse birth outcomes in over 2.6 million live singletons born to married women aged 20 to 29 years in the United States between 1995 and 2000.

Compared with newborns born to fathers aged 20 to 29, the researchers found that newborns born to teenage fathers (younger than 20) had a higher risk of preterm birth (odds ratio 1.15), low birth weight (OR, 1.13), small-for-gestational-age birth (OR, 1.17), low Apgar score (OR, 1.13), neonatal mortality (OR, 1.22) and post-neonatal mortality (OR, 1.41). There was no association with adverse birth outcomes in fathers aged 40 years or older.

"Teenage fathers carry an increased risk of adverse birth outcomes that is independent of maternal confounders, whereas advanced paternal age is not an independent risk factor for adverse birth outcomes," Chen and colleagues conclude. "The paternal influence of younger fathers on adverse birth outcomes clearly warrants further investigation, and may lead to a deeper understanding of the etiology of such outcomes."

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