Study: Babies Born Prematurely Can Grow Up Without Major Illnesses

Study: Babies Born Prematurely Can Grow Up Without Major Illnesses

A worry many preterm birth mothers have are the effects of premature birth on child development into adulthood.

Mothers who gave birth preterm often worry about the effects of premature birth on child development into adulthood, mainly because statistics show that there have been numerous short-term and long-term issues premature babies face like problems with sight and low IQ.

11 per cent of babies are born prematurely worldwide. With the rise of premature births in Singapore only a few years ago, it has since become a common concern among mums-to-be here.

However, recent research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) has evidence to the contrary.

Babies from preterm births at low risk of major health illnesses, study finds
Effects of Premature Birth On Child Development

Image source: Shutterstock

Researchers examined over 2.5 million babies in Sweden born between 1973 to 1997 and tracked their development in 2015. It found that 5.8 per cent of babies were born pre-term (149,065).

Preterm births were categorised according to “extremely preterm” (22 – 27 weeks), “very preterm” (28-33 weeks), “late preterm” (34-36 weeks), and “early term” (37-38 weeks). Each category were then compared full-term babies (39-41 weeks) for neuropsychiatric disorders, cardio, and lung issues.

The research, which aimed to find out what are the effects of premature birth on child development into adulthood, found that more than 62 per cent in the entire group of premature babies had not developed any major illnesses. However, it noted that babies born in the extremely preterm category had only a 22-per cent survival rate.

The research also found that premature babies were likely to be male.

Effects of Premature Birth On Child Development

Image source: Shutterstock

Pregnant ladies who smoked, had hypertensive disorders, diabetes, and preeclampsia during pregnancy were more at risk of having preterm birth.

Dr Casey Crump, the lead author of the study, told WebMD “The third trimester of pregnancy is a critical period for fetal growth. Preterm birth interrupts normal growth and maturation of all fetal organs, which can alter their structure and function”.

He advised that improving long-term health by following healthy lifestyle habits helps  lead a life without any major health illnesses. This includes getting enough exercise, eating a balanced diet while managing your weight, and avoid smoking or substance abuse.

And this same advice goes towards expectant mothers as well. Dr Crump suggested better health of pregnant women can improve their little one’s health.

 

If your baby had a preterm birth, don’t fret! Results from recent research are promising, as long as you maintain a healthy lifestyle afterwards!

Share with your expecting friends to ease their minds!

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Written by

Vinnie Wong

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