24-Hour Crisis Hotline: (877)SAFEGBC or (877)723-3422 Mental Health & Substance Abuse Issues

6502 Nursery Drive, Suite 100
Victoria, TX 77904
(361)575-0611
(800)421-8825
Fax: (361)578-5500

Child Development & Parenting: Infants (0-2)
Resources
Basic Information
Infant Development: How Your Baby Grows and MaturesInfant Parenting: Keeping Your Baby Healthy and HappyInfant Safety: Keeping Your Baby SafeInfant Enrichment: Stimulating Your Baby
More InformationLatest News
Nurses Can Make the Difference for New Moms' BreastfeedingBig Babies May Face Higher Lifelong A-Fib RiskNewborns of Moms With COVID-19 Face Little Infection Risk: StudyMost Newborns of COVID-19-Infected Moms Fare WellBaby's Heart Rate Reflects Mom's Mental HealthCould Antibiotics Make Breast Milk Less Healthy for Babies?Breastfeeding OK After Mom Has Anesthesia, Experts SayWith Safety Steps, Moms Unlikely to Pass COVID-19 to Newborns: StudyLupus Drug Prevents Low Heartbeat in High-Risk Newborns: StudyExposure to Iodine in the NICU May Affect Infant Thyroid FunctionZika May Have Damaged More Infants' Brains Than ExpectedCOVID-19 Typically Mild for Babies: StudyBaby's Sleep Issues Could Sometimes Signal Autism: StudyBreast Milk May Help Shield Infants From Dangerous VirusesScreen Time for Tiniest Tots Linked to Autism-Like SymptomsNewborns With COVID-19 May Suffer Only Mild Symptoms, Study SaysBabies Are Spared Severe COVID-19 SymptomsCould Dad-to-Be's Health Affect His Newborn's Health?Sleepless Babies May Face Emotional Troubles as KidsBabies' Exposure to Household Cleaning Products Tied to Later Asthma RiskZika Damage Showing Up in Babies Deemed 'Normal' at BirthOut-of-Pocket Medical Costs Average $4,500 for Many New U.S. ParentsAnother Possible Effect of Climate Change: More Preemie BabiesOpioid Exposure in Womb Alters the Infant BrainInfants May Not Be as Immune to Measles as ThoughtGive Newborn to Mom Right Away -- After Moving the ElectrodesHigh-Tech Pacifier Might Monitor Baby's Blood Sugar
Questions and AnswersLinks
Related Topics

Child & Adolescent Development: Overview
Childhood Mental Disorders and Illnesses
Child Development & Parenting: Early (3-7)

Could Dad-to-Be's Health Affect His Newborn's Health?

HealthDay News
by By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter
Updated: Mar 10th 2020

new article illustration

TUESDAY, March 10, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- The health of both mom and dad are key to a healthy pregnancy and birth, new research finds.

In the study of nearly 786,000 births, researchers found that dads who weren't in the best of health were more likely to have preterm and low birth weight infants who spent time in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

"The study suggests that a father's health before conception should be considered, as it can affect the outcome of the pregnancy for both the child and mother," said lead researcher Dr. Alex Kasman. He's a resident physician in the department of urology at Stanford University Hospital in Stanford, Calif.

Because the study looked at data retrospectively, it can't prove that the father's health caused these medical problems, only that they seem to be associated.

Specifically, fathers with conditions such as high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, cancer or depression had 19% higher odds of having a preterm infant, 23% higher odds of having a low birth weight infant and 28% higher odds of having an infant who needed a stay in the NICU, the researchers found.

Also, the women whose partners were in poor health were more likely to have pregnancy complications, such as gestational diabetes or preeclampsia, the findings showed.

It's not known exactly how a father's health contributes to the health of a newborn, but Kasman speculated that several factors might be at play.

"A father contributes half the genome and health can impact expression of genes, so it is reasonable to hypothesize that conditions that make a father healthy, or not, may impact these genes," he said.

Also, a father's health may have negative effects on the health of the placenta, which can lead to changes in the baby's outcome, Kasman noted.

Evidence in previous studies found poor health can negatively affect the quality of sperm in the same way as environmental exposures to smoking and toxins do, he added.

It's also possible that genetics may be a factor, but that's not certain, Kasman said.

"While a couple with an unhealthy father and mother may have a higher chance of pregnancy complications, they can certainly still have a healthy baby," he stressed. "However, the more a couple looks after their health, the higher the odds of having a healthy baby."

Dr. Rahul Gupta, chief medical and health officer at the March of Dimes, said it is possible that the father's health is a hint that the mother, too, may be in poor health.

For example, an obese man may be more likely to be with an obese woman, so the health consequences of obesity -- such as diabetes and high blood pressure -- may affect both partners, he suggested.

Gupta also agreed that the quality of the sperm can be affected by the health of the father and have an impact on the baby.

To help parents have a healthy baby, prenatal care needs to involve both parents, he said.

"We have done a fair job of focusing on prenatal care for mothers. We have improved access to care through expanded Medicaid -- we're not doing great, but we're doing better than we have in the past. Where we can still do better is to involve the father before and during pregnancy," Gupta said.

Involving both parents in prenatal health has the potential to lead to healthier babies, he explained.

"It's time for both the mother and father to shape up, before conceiving the child but also during pregnancy," Gupta said.

The report was published March 6 in the journal Fertility and Sterility.

More information

For tips on having a healthy baby, head to the U.S. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.