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Open Access Research article

Missing paternal demographics: A novel indicator for identifying high risk population of adverse pregnancy outcomes

Hongzhuan Tan123, Shi Wu Wen123*, Mark Walker12 and Kitaw Demissie4

Author Affiliations

1 OMNI Research Group, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, University of Ottawa, Faculty of Medicine, 501 Smyth Rd, Ottawa, K1H 8L6, Canada

2 Clinical Epidemiology Program, Ottawa Health Research Institute, 501 Smyth Rd, Ottawa, K1H 8L6, Canada

3 School of Public Health, Central South University, Changsha, Hunan 410008, P. R. China

4 Division of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Piscataway, New Jersey, USA

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BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth 2004, 4:21  doi:10.1186/1471-2393-4-21

Published: 13 November 2004



One of every 6 United Status birth certificates contains no information on fathers. There might be important differences in the pregnancy outcomes between mothers with versus those without partner information. The object of this study was to assess whether and to what extent outcomes in pregnant women who did not have partner information differ from those who had.


We carried out a population-based retrospective cohort study based on the registry data in the United States for the period of 1995–1997, which was a matched multiple birth file (only twins were included in the current analysis). We divided the study subjects into three groups according to the availability of partner information: available, partly missing, and totally missing. We compared the distribution of maternal characteristics, maternal morbidity, labor and delivery complications, obstetric interventions, preterm birth, fetal growth restriction, low birth weight, congenital anomalies, fetal death, neonatal death, post-neonatal death, and neonatal morbidity among three study groups.


There were 304466 twins included in our study. Mothers whose partner's information was partly missing and (especially) totally missing tended to be younger, of black race, unmarried, with less education, smoking cigarette during pregnancy, and with inadequate prenatal care. The rates of preterm birth, fetal growth restriction, low birth weight, Apgar score <7, fetal mortality, neonatal mortality, and post-neonatal mortality were significantly increased in mothers whose partner's information was partly or (especially) totally missing.


Mothers whose partner's information was partly and (especially) totally missing are at higher risk of adverse pregnant outcomes, and clinicians and public health workers should be alerted to this important social factor.