Paternal Jail Incarceration and Birth Outcomes: Evidence from New York City, 2010-2016.

Journal Article (Journal Article)


To examine population-level associations between paternal jail incarceration during pregnancy and infant birth outcomes using objective measures of health and incarceration.


We use multivariate logistic regression models and linked records on all births and jail incarcerations in New York City between 2010 and 2016.


0.8% of live births were exposed to paternal incarceration during pregnancy or at the time of birth. After accounting for parental sociodemographic characteristics, maternal health behaviors, and maternal health care access, paternal incarceration during pregnancy remains associated with late preterm birth (OR = 1.34, 95% CI = 1.21, 1.48), low birthweight (OR = 1.39, 95% CI = 1.27, 1.53), small size for gestational age (OR = 1.35, 95% CI = 1.17, 1.57), and NICU admission (OR = 1.14, 95% CI = 1.05, 1.24).


We found strong positive baseline associations (p < 0.001) between paternal jail incarceration during pregnancy with probabilities of all adverse outcomes examined. These associations did not appear to be driven purely by duration or frequency of paternal incarceration. These associations were partially explained by parental characteristics, maternal health behavior, and health care. These results indicate the need to consider paternal incarceration as a potential stressor and source of trauma for pregnant women and infants.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Yi, Y; Kennedy, J; Chazotte, C; Huynh, M; Jiang, Y; Wildeman, C

Published Date

  • August 2021

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 25 / 8

Start / End Page

  • 1221 - 1241

PubMed ID

  • 33914227

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC8715549

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1573-6628

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1092-7875

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1007/s10995-021-03168-6


  • eng