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Young dads up birthing risks

Babies born to teenage fathers are more likely to develop problems at birth, research shows.

A study found that babies of young fathers had a higher risk of preterm delivery and low birth weight, independent of the age of the mother.

Experts from the Ottowa Health Research Institute in Canada studied more than 2,000,000 babies born to married women without any other children.

Babies born to teenage fathers had a 15% increased risk of being born early, a 13% increased risk of low birth weight and a 22% increased risk of dying in the first four weeks after birth.

Fathers aged 40 years or more did not have an increased risk of adverse birth outcomes.

Study author Shi Wu Wen said: "Our study indicated that being a teenage father was an independent risk factor for adverse birth outcomes, whereas advanced paternal age was not.

"The paternal influence of younger fathers on adverse birth outcomes clearly warrants further investigation, and may lead to a deeper understanding of the causes of such outcomes."

European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology