There are several factors that can create complications during pregnancy and birth. Until now, much of the focus has been on how a mother’s health affects the health of her baby. However, new research suggests that the health of the father may also be key to improving outcomes for mom and baby.
A study of nearly 786,000 births found that dads with existing health conditions were more likely to have preterm and low birth weight infants who spent time in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Researchers found that fathers who suffer from high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, cancer, or depression were 19 percent more likely to have a preterm infant, 23 percent more likely to have a low birth weight infant, and 28 percent more likely to have a baby who needed to stay in the NICU.
Dr. Rahul Gupta, Chief Medical and Health Officer at the March of Dimes, explained that both parents must be involved in prenatal care in order to have a healthy baby. “It’s time for both the mother and father to shape up, before conceiving the child but also during pregnancy,” Gupta said. The March of Dimes reports that 1 in 10 babies is born prematurely in the United States each year.
The healthier a couple is, the higher the odds of having a healthy baby, but unfortunately complications may still arise. When choosing your birthing hospital, make sure they have skilled and compassionate neonatologists in the hospital 24/7 to provide the best possible care for your newborn.
To learn more about this study, click here.