Navigation Links
Delivery Even a Bit Early May Mean Developmental Delays

By Maureen Salamon
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Feb. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Bucking the notion that being born a few weeks early has no discernible impact on babies, a new study indicates that "late preterm" infants face more developmental delays than their full-term peers and those delays may affect their school performance.

Researchers in Boston analyzed records from 6,300 term and 1,200 late preterm infants -- those born between 34 weeks and 37 weeks gestation -- from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort, using equations to estimate the odds of mental or physical delays among the preterm set at the age of 2.

In mental skills, late preterm babies were 52 percent more likely than term infants to suffer severe delays and 43 percent more likely to experience milder limitations. In motor skills, the preterm toddlers faced 56 percent increased odds of severe delays and a 58 percent increased risk of milder ones.

The study is reported online Feb. 14 in the journal Pediatrics.

"Previously, these infants were just considered small full-term infants rather than preterm infants," said study author Dr. Melissa A. Woythaler, a neonatologist at Massachusetts General Hospital. "There's been a shift in how they're viewed."

Preterm births -- those in which babies are delivered before 37 weeks' gestation -- account for nearly 13 percent of the nation's 4.2 million annual births, according to the study. Late preterm births have risen 25 percent since 1990, from about 7 percent to 9 percent of all births.

In addition, 5 percent to 40 percent of U.S. births are now early elective deliveries, meaning that births are induced preterm without a valid medical reason, according to a recent hospital-by-hospital report from the Leapfrog Group, a national employer-driven hospital watchdog group.

Noting that many of these at-risk infants receive little or no specialized developmental follow-up, Woythaler's data included babies with at least 34 weeks' gestation from wide economic and racial backgrounds who received complete assessments near the age of 2.

The brain of a baby at 34 weeks' gestation weighs 35 percent less than it would at term, the study noted.

Social factors and gender had the greatest impact on the children's mental scores, the study said, with language spoken at home playing a key role. (Boys were most likely to have severe development delays.) In contrast, gestational age was the most important contributor to physical delays.

Researchers noted a few study limitations, including the lack of information on possible newborn medical complications and the possible weaknesses of infant developmental testing.

However, their findings are consistent with those of other recent studies of late preterm infants, they said. Researchers have found such infants are at higher risk for respiratory problems, worse academic performance and school suspension down the road.

"There's a reason why normal gestation is 40 weeks," said Dr. Marty Ellington Jr., chairman of the department of pediatrics at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. "If a child needs to be delivered for a maternal or infant medical condition, care has advanced where those children can do quite well. But we should never discount the importance of those two to four weeks. If we have a choice, we would want the child to go to term."

Woythaler said more research is needed to determine how to best help preterm babies suffering developmental delays reach the same level as their peers carried to term.

"Very premature infants automatically get referred to early intervention," she said. "Not these infants. Not all of these infants are doing poorly -- a lot are doing well and normally. Once we can pinpoint which infants can benefit from early intervention, that's the point we can do something."

Ellington pointed out that gender and medical issues that contribute to developmental delays in this group can't be changed, but "the social component is modifiable with respect to early intervention programs."

"When put into a whole, [the delays] can significantly impact a child's performance, particularly as they reach school age," he said. "They compound each other and make it difficult for a child to function in a normal classroom."

But the high cost of valuable early intervention programs -- typically including occupational, physical and/or speech therapy -- has caused many across the country to be eliminated, Ellington said.

"It's something very concerning, given the vast numbers of infants that are having these developmental problems," he said.

More information

Visit the University of Kentucky for more on late preterm births.

SOURCES: Melissa A. Woythaler, D.O., M.S., neonatologist, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston; Marty Ellington Jr., M.D., M.P.H., chairman, department of pediatrics, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York; Feb. 14, 2011, Pediatrics, online

Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. MarquisNet Co-Location Agreement with MessageBroadcast Helps Message Delivery Provider Expand World-Class Network
2. Launch of On Time Air Filters: Home Air Filter Delivery Service Helps Homeowners Replace All-Important Home HVAC Filters On Time
3. GE Healthcare, Intel and Mayo Clinic explore new models of health care delivery
4. Gourmet Diet Delivery Unites with First Lady's Battle Against Obesity The Fresh Diet Begins Delivering Meals to DC
5. Targeted delivery of losartan reduces liver inflammation and scarring
6. Electronic Health Information Leader Says Physician Practice Redesign is Vital Next Step Towards Safer, More Effective Care Delivery
7. Panel questions VBAC bans, advocates expanded delivery options for women
8. Magnetic Fields Concentrate Drug Delivery
9. New Nasal Drug Delivery Device for Chronic Sinusitis Patients Now Available from ASL Pharmacy
10. FreshDirect Celebrates Nurse Appreciation Week with Delivery of Complimentary 4-Minute Meals for Nurses at Hospitals in Westchester and Greenwich, CT
11. Drug now used to treat erectile dysfuncton may enhance delivery of herceptin to certain brain tumors
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Delivery Even a Bit Early May Mean Developmental Delays
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Global law firm Greenberg Traurig, P.A. ... The attorneys chosen by their peers for this recognition are considered among the top ... Shareholders received special honors as members of this year’s Legal Elite Hall of Fame: ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Comfort Keepers® of San Diego, CA is excited ... To Recovery® program to drive cancer patients to and from their cancer treatments. ... highest quality of life and ongoing independence. Getting to and from medical treatments ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... People across the U.S. are sharpening ... Talker Award, an essay contest in which patients and their families pay tribute to ... at the 2016 National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC) Annual Education Conference (AEC) this ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... The Haute ... Dr. Barry M. Weintraub as a prominent plastic surgeon and the network’s newest ... world, and the most handsome men, look naturally attractive. Plastic surgery should be ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Strategic Capital Partners, LLC (SCP) in concert ... capital for emerging technology companies. SCP has delivered investment events and professional ... than a million dollars of capital investment for five companies. The ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... Roche (SIX: RO, ROG; OTCQX: RHHBY) announced that it ... (procalcitonin) assay as a dedicated testing solution for people ... Roche is the first IVD company in the U.S ... assessment and management. PCT is a sepsis-specific ... blood can aid clinicians in assessing the risk of ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016 , , ... July 7, 2016 , , , , LOCATION: , , ... , , , EXPERT PANELISTS:  , , , Frost & ... Analyst, Christi Bird; Senior Industry Analyst, Divyaa Ravishankar and Unmesh Lal, ... The global pharmaceutical industry is witnessing an exceptional era. Several new ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 The vast ... an outpatient dialysis facility.  Treatments are usually 3 times ... hours per visit, including travel time, equipment preparation and ... patient, but especially grueling for patients who are elderly ... a skilled nursing and rehabilitation centers for some duration ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: