Do fathers affect their partners' susceptibility to preeclampsia during pregnancy?
Preeclampsia—a condition that occurs in pregnancy and is characterized by high blood pressure and signs of kidney damage—can be dangerous for both mother and baby. New research published in Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica suggests that the characteristics and lifestyle of the fathers do not play a significant role in their partners' susceptibility to preeclampsia.
The cause of preeclampsia is unclear, making strategies for its prevention challenging, although various maternal risk factors have been recognized. In this study, researchers examined questionnaire data from 586 men who had fathered a preeclamptic pregnancy and 660 control men who had fathered a non-preeclamptic pregnancy. Fathers in the former group more often reported preeclampsia in a previously fathered pregnancy, but there were no differences in the socioeconomic background or health history of the preeclamptic and control fathers or their parents.
"Importance of paternal genetic factors has been demonstrated in their partners' susceptibility to preeclampsia, but the role of paternal phenotype and lifestyle is still not well understood. Both paternal genotype and phenotype need to be addressed in future studies," said co-author Noora Jaatinen, MD, a Ph.D. student at the University of Turku, in Finland.