Using Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Data (N=4,342), this paper examines why relationship status matters for maternal health behaviors. The paper argues that a mother's decisions on how muchto invest in her child are partly driven by her perception of how committed the father is to their relationship. Results show that several relationship dynamics measures, including multiple partner fertility, relationship quality, and for unmarried mothers, whether she believes she will eventually marry the father, all predict prenatal health behaviors above and beyond confounding factors. In addition, these relationship dynamics explain some of the advantage in maternal health behaviors married mothers have over those who are dating or who have broken up with the father of the baby bythe time of the birth. (Author abstract)
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Together Forever? : Relationship Dynamics and Maternal Investments in Children's Health.