American research highlights the importance of the father's involvement in his role as future parent from pregnancy to support the mother and encourage her not to adopt risky health behaviors.
Fathers involved in the role of future parents could help preserve their child's health
The results suggest that unmarried women are less likely to receive antenatal care during the first trimester of pregnancy and more at risk of consuming alcohol.
An American study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Northwestern Memorial Hospital University Medical Center (USA) looked at risky health behaviors adopted by pregnant women and young people mothers.
The analysis was carried out using birth certificates, declarations of paternity recognition and CDC data ensuring continuous monitoring of the behaviors, attitudes and experiences of mothers before, during and shortly after pregnancy. Published in the journal Public Health Reports , the research involved a total of 113,020 participants.
The results suggest that unmarried women are less likely to receive antenatal care during the first trimester of pregnancy and more likely to drink alcohol and smoke during and after pregnancy. These different criteria were found to be even higher when the mother was alone and in the absence of recognition of paternity, the survey clarified.
According to Dr. Craig Garfield, professor of pediatrics and medical social science at Northwestern University and co-author of the study, these data could provide leads to doctors who follow pregnant women in order to adopt appropriate practices based on the dynamics of parental relationships to preserve the health of the unborn baby.
" Suppose a mother goes to the doctor alone. Just asking questions about her family situation and the level of father involvement can provide insight into the need for assistance or support, " says Dr. Garfield.
" Although we could not directly assess paternal involvement with the available data, this study suggests that the engagement of fathers and father figures can help improve maternal health behaviors during pregnancy ", adds Katherine Kortsmit, CDC researcher and lead author of the study.
The data described in this work concerns only fathers: the researchers emphasize the need to conduct more research in the future with couples in order to assess the impact of the support of any partner - man or woman - on the health of mother and baby.