Father Early Engagement Behaviors and Infant Low Birth Weight

Abstract

Objective To examine the association of father early engagement behaviors and infant low birth weight (LBW) among unmarried, urban couples. Methods Participants were from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, a birth-cohort study of urban families. We conducted cross-sectional analyses of data from interviews with unmarried mothers and fathers (N = 2726) that took place at the time of their child’s birth. Early engagement behaviors were based on fathers’ self-report of whether during the pregnancy they gave mothers money to buy things for the baby, helped in other ways like providing transportation to prenatal clinics, and attended the birth. Results Most (68.9%) fathers engaged in all three early engagement behaviors; 22% engaged in 2 behaviors; and 9.1% engaged in 1 or 0 early engagement behaviors. LBW more than doubled when comparing infants of fathers who engaged in all three early engagement behaviors (9.6% predicted probability of LBW) to those fathers who engaged in no early engagement behaviors (over 22% predicted probability of LBW). Conclusion Infant and maternal health may benefit from intervention to encourage positive father engagement during pregnancy.

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Fig. 1

Abbreviations

AOR:

Adjusted odds ratio

FFCWS:

Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study

LBW:

Low birth weight

US:

United States

VIF:

Variance inflation factor

WHO:

World Health Organization

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Funding

The Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study is supported by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development through Grants R01HD36916, R01HD39135, and R01HD40421 and a consortium of private foundations (http://www.fragilefamilies.princeton.edu/funders.asp). The authors of this study did not obtain funding for the analyses reported herein.

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Correspondence to Shawna J. Lee.

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The authors have no financial relationships relevant to this article to disclose. The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.

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This study was reviewed by the University of Michigan Institutional Review Board. As secondary data analysis, this study was deemed exempt from oversight.

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Lee, S.J., Sanchez, D.T., Grogan-Kaylor, A. et al. Father Early Engagement Behaviors and Infant Low Birth Weight. Matern Child Health J 22, 1407–1417 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10995-018-2521-2

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Keywords

  • Perinatal period
  • Father–child relations
  • Infancy
  • Fathers
  • Fathering