Expectant father’s depression may be linked to premature birth

Expectant father’s depression may be linked to premature birth

A new study has shown that depression of expectant father may be linked to risk of premature birth of babies. It was already known that depression in women during pregnancy increases the risk of low birth weight and premature birth but the study shows that depression in fathers can also have an impact on the health of the baby.

Anders Hjern from Centre for Health Equity Studies in Stockholm, Sweden, said, "Our results suggest that both maternal and paternal depression should be considered in preterm birth prevention strategies and both parents should be screened for mental health problems.Depression of a partner can be considered to be a substantial source of stress for an expectant mother, and this may result in the increased risk of very preterm birth seen in our study."

Hjern also said that the paternal depression also has an impact on sperm quality, DNA of the baby and also affect the placenta function. The study included more than 350,000 births in Sweden between 2007 and 2012. The cases were investigated for parental depression and incidences of either very preterm birth or moderately preterm birth.

The researchers noted prescription of antidepressant medication, or receiving outpatient/inpatient hospital care from a period of 12 months before conception till the second trimester of pregnancy. They found that depression in the fathers was associated with a 38 percent increased risk of very preterm birth.

The findings were published in BJOG: an International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.


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