Purpose: Retrospective studies of preconception health have demonstrated that parents’ health conditions and behaviors can impact a newborn’s birth outcomes and, subsequently, future health status. This study sought to examine the impact of preconception health, measured prospectively, among both mothers and fathers, on two important birth outcomes: birthweight and gestational age. Methods: Data came from Add Health (the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health), which included interviews with original participants and a subsample of their partners in 2001–02. In 2008, the original respondents again completed an interview for Add Health. For 372 eligible infants born to these couples, birth outcomes (measured in 2008) were regressed on preconception health conditions and behaviors among non-pregnant heterosexual partners (measured in 2001–02). Results: Mean birthweight was 3,399 g, and mean gestational age was 39 weeks. Birthweight was higher for infants born to mothers with diabetes or high blood pressure, and for mothers who drank alcohol at least once per month, and lower for infants born to fathers with diabetes (p<0.05). Infant gestational age was marginally lower for infants born to mothers with higher levels of depression (p<0.10), and lower for infants born to fathers with diabetes and with higher levels of fast food consumption (p<0.05). Conclusions: Both maternal and paternal preconception health conditions and behaviors influenced infant birth outcomes. Interventions to promote preconception health should focus on prevention of diabetes and high blood pressure, as well as minimizing consumption of alcohol and fast food.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Obstetrics and Gynecology