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Premature Infants Are Difficult To Socialize Later In Life

Armen Hareyan's picture

Premature infants are found to develop mental problems later in life. They are less likely to marry, have children, and be successful in education and career as adults.

Earlier, premature infants were able to survive very rarely, mos of them were dying. Nowadays, science is powerful enough to save babies' lives, but it is not that powerful to have these babies properly developed. Infants can be properly carried in hospitals and developed physically, but this research looks at these babies when they are adults and found that they have a plenty of mental problems.

A team of researchers from Haukeland University Hospital examined 900000 healthy infants born between 1967 and 1983 in Norway. Babies were divided into groups: 1822 born between 23 and 27 weeks of gestation, 2805 between 28 and 30 weeks, 7424 between 31 and 33 weeks, 33000 born between 34 and 36 weeks, the rest of infants were born 37 weeks or later. Normal period of gestation includes 40 weeks.

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Those babies that were born at 37 weeks had 0.1% risk for cerebral palsy, compared to the first group with 9.1% of risk. Risk for suffering from mental problems was 0.4% and 4.4% accordingly. Those preterm babies born on time reported to have only 1.7% cases of receiving disability pension later in life, compared to 10.6% of those born between 23 and 27 weeks of gestation.

Premature babies were 10% less likely to properly finish school study, 10% less likely to finish college, 20% less likely to have a high salary and income, 20% more likely to qualify for Social Security benefits, 20% less likely to leave homes, marry, and become parents.

Researchers mention that these premature babies that were examined did not develop any physical disability later in life, they were just as healthy as their peers born on time. However, premature infants were found to develop lots of problems with communication, socializing, and personal life. Researchers suggest, that problems occur, probably because their central nervous system does not properly develop during a shorter period of gestation.

This research is both positive and negative because it says that premature babies develop social problems later in life, but at the same time these babies are physically as healthy as their peers. The message for parents is that if your baby is born prematurely, you need to pay extreme attention on baby's development and to remind your child's physicians and teacher about that fact, to make sure that the baby is developing properly.