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Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2008 Jun;198(6):644.e1-6. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2007.11.046.

Paternal race and preterm birth.

Author information

  • 1Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA, USA. hsimhan@mail.magee.edu



The purpose of this study was to describe the contribution of paternal race and parental racial discordance to preterm birth


We used a US natality cohort of 2,845,686 singleton births. Race was self-reported. Preterm birth was defined as a birth at <34 weeks of gestation.


In considering white or black parents, black couples demonstrated greater odds of preterm birth (adjusted odds ratio, 2.4; 95% CI, 2.3-2.5) than white couples. Compared with white couples, black-white couples had increased odds of preterm birth. In black-white couples, the odds of preterm birth were greater if the mother was black (adjusted odds ratio, 1.7; 95% CI, 1.5-1.9) than if the father was black (adjusted odds ratio, 1.2; 95% CI, 1.1-1.3).


Regardless of maternal race, paternal black race is associated with increased odds of preterm birth. Additionally, among white-black couples, the odds of preterm birth are greater if the mother is black than if the father is black. These data support the notion of a differential contribution of race on preterm birth depending on the parent of origin.

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