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Babies with teenage fathers at higher risk

20 October, 2008

Babies with teenage fathers at higher risk

Babies fathered by teenagers are more likely to be unhealthy at birth, according to a recent study.

Midwives magazine: April/May 2008

  

Babies fathered by teenagers are more likely to be unhealthy at birth, according to a recent study.

 

The Canadian study published in Human Reproduction analysed 2.6m mothers aged between 20 and 29 when they gave birth. The fathers were also divided into age groups.

While men over 20 did not show any abnormal risk of fathering a child with birth problems, teenage fathers had a 13% increased chance of a low birthweight baby, a 17% chance of a small baby and a 15% increased chance of a baby born prematurely. There was also a 41% chance of a baby dying within the first year.

University of Ottawa’s Professor Shi Wu Wen identified societal factors that played a significant role between the age groups.

‘Younger fathers are more likely to come from economically disadvantaged families and to have lower educational attainment.’

His views were reinforced by British Fertility Society secretary Dr Allan Pacey, who suggested a more convincing explanation was that ‘older men are simply better able to provide for their pregnant partners’.

 

Reference

Chen XK, Wen SW, Krewski D, Fleming N, Yang Q, Walker MC et al. (2007) Paternal age and adverse birth outcomes: teenager or 40+, who is at risk? Human Reproduction. See: http://humrep.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/reprint/dem403v1?maxtoshow=&HITS=10&hits=10&RESULTFORMAT=&fulltext=fathers&searchid=1&FIRS TINDEX=0&sortspec=date&resourcetype=HWCIT (accessed 17 March 2008).

 

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