Is paternal depression a significant risk factor of preterm birth?

We will discuss “Prenatal parental depression and preterm birth: a national cohort study” by Liu and co-workers from 25 May 2016 for 7 days.

*This paper is now online and FREE-TO-VIEW

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Start date: 25 May (the discussion will open for 7 days between 25 May to 1 June 2016)

First hosted discussion session(s) starts at: GMT+1 (British Summer Time) 8pm 

Host: @BlueJCHost

Platforms: Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn 

BJOG_BlueJC_160x600WebBanner_Mar15_(reoriented)_3The Blue Journal Club is an international journal club on women’s health research based on Twitter (as @BlueJCHost). We start our conversation on the last Wednesday of every month and use the hashtag #BlueJC for our tweets. Simply add this hashtag (“#BlueJC”) to each tweet and we will capture it. Each #BlueJC opens for 7 days with an advertised start time. All BJOG #BlueJC papers also have complementary slide sets suitable for face-to-face journal clubs with your local colleagues. You can access the slide set of this paper here (find the title paper and click on the “discussion point” tab).

The discussion points are attached below (quoted from the published Journal Club guide)


Mental health awareness in pregnancy was emphasised during an obstetrics continual professional development event. The speaker summarised adverse perinatal outcomes that has been linked with maternal depression. A midwife asked, “Does depression in dads have similar impact on these outcomes?”

Description of research

Participants Singleton births recorded in the Medical Birth Register of Sweden between 2007–2012
Intervention Parents with depression
Comparison Parents without depression
Outcomes Odds ratios (ORs) for very preterm and moderately preterm births
Study design A population-based cohort study
Authors’ conclusion New paternal and maternal prenatal depression are potential risk factors for preterm birth

Discussion Points

  • How common is paternal depression in the perinatal period? (See suggested reading)
  • What are the risk factors of parental depression identified in this study?
  • How was parental depression defined in this study? What are the pros and cons of using this definition?
  • What is Huber-White sandwich estimates of variance? Was its use appropriate?
  • What were the relationships between paternal depression, spontaneous preterm births and medically-indicated preterm births?
  • How was cohabitation of parents related to preterm birth rates?
  • What are the possible mechanisms behind the above associations?
  • How do the demographics of the study participants compare to parents you encounter in your usual practice? (See Table 1–2)
  • How may the results of this study influence your daily practice?

Suggested reading

  • Paulson JF, Bazemore SD. Prenatal and postpartum depression in fathers and its association with maternal depression: a meta-analysis. JAMA. 2010 May 19;303(19):1961-9.
  • Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network. Critical Appraisal: notes and checklists. Methodology checklist 3: Cohort study. (Last access 15 February 2016)

For those who want to understand hashtags, this may be a useful guide. For an introduction to #BlueJC, please refer to BJOG 2013;120:657–60. Follow @BlueJCHostthis blog and our Facebook page to receive news about #BlueJC.