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How a father’s mental health impacts premature birth risk

Men who have persistent mental health problems are six times more likely to have a premature baby, a world-first study has found.

Groundbreaking research from the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute discovered men with recurring mental health issues have a 17 per cent risk of fathering a premature baby, compared to a two per cent average for other men.

The effect was seen even if the man’s mental health issues occurred long before the birth of the baby.

The babies of men who had recurring mental health problems in their teens and young adult years were at elevated risk of premature birth when their fathers were aged between 29 and 35.

Adolescent Psychiatrist at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, Professor George Patton, said there are “a lot of good biological reasons” why scientists should look at men to predict pregnancy issues.

“Sperms carry a little bit more than just simply the genes, but actually little packets of information about the environment,” he told Ross and Russel.

Press PLAY below for the full interview.