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Missing paternal data and adverse birth outcomes in Canada

TitleMissing paternal data and adverse birth outcomes in Canada
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsShapiro, G. D., Bushnik T., Sheppard A. J., Kramer M. S., Kaufman J. S., and Yang S.
JournalHealth Reports / Rapports sur la santé
Pages3 - 9
Keywordsbirth certificates, fetal death, infant mortality, medical record linkage, premature infant, small-for-gestational-age infant, stillbirth

BACKGROUND: Research on predictors of birth outcomes tends to focus on maternal characteristics. Less is known about the role of paternal factors. Missing paternal data on administrative records may be a marker for risk of adverse birth outcomes. DATA AND METHODS: Analyses were performed on a cohort of births that occurred from May 16, 2004 through May 15, 2006, which was created by linking birth and death registration data with the 2006 Canadian census. Log-binomial and binomial regression were used to estimate relative risks and risk differences for preterm birth, small-for-gestational-age birth, stillbirth and infant mortality associated with the absence of paternal information. Analyses controlled for maternal age, education, household income, parity, marital status, ethnicity and birthplace. RESULTS: The analyses pertained to 135,285 singleton births. Paternal data were missing from the birth registration for 7,461 births (4.6%) and from the census data for 17,713 births (11.4%). The adjusted relative risks associated with missing paternal data on the birth registration were 1.12 (95% CI: 0.99, 1.26) for preterm birth; 1.15 (1.05, 1.26) for small-for-gestational-age birth; 1.86 (1.27, 2.73) for stillbirth; and 1.53 (1.00, 2.34) for infant mortality. Estimates were robust to varying definitions of missing paternal information, based on the birth registration, census data, or both. INTERPRETATION: This study suggests that missing paternal data is a marker for increased risk of adverse birth outcomes, over and above maternal characteristics.

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