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Research documents social and economic antecedents of adverse birth outcomes, which may include involuntary job loss. Previous work on job loss and adverse birth outcomes, however, lacks high-quality individual data on, and variation in, plausibly exogenous job loss during pregnancy and therefore cannot rule out strong confounding. We analysed unique linked registries in Denmark, from 1980 to 2017, to examine whether a father's involuntary job loss during his spouse's pregnancy increases the risk of a low-weight (i.e. <2500 grams) and/or preterm (i.e. <37 weeks of gestational age) birth. We applied a matched-sibling design to 743 574 sibling pairs. Results indicate an increased risk of a low-weight birth among infants exposed in utero to fathers' unexpected job loss [odds ratio (OR) = 1.37, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.07, 1.75]. Sex-specific analyses show that this result holds for males (OR = 1.70, 95% CI: 1.14, 2.53) but not females (OR = 1.24, 95% CI: 0.80, 1.91). We find no relation with preterm birth. Findings support the inference that a father's unexpected job loss adversely affects the course of pregnancy, especially among males exposed in utero. © The Author(s) 2021; all rights reserved. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the International Epidemiological Association.


Samantha Gailey, Elias Stapput Knudsen, Laust H Mortensen, Tim A Bruckner. Birth outcomes following unexpected job loss: a matched-sibling design. International journal of epidemiology. 2022 Jun 13;51(3):858-869

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PMID: 34508593

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