Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Early delivery increases risk of developmental delay

Courtesy of USA Today

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% more likely than term infants to suffer severe delays and 43% more likely to experience milder limitations. In motor skills, the preterm toddlers faced 56% increased odds of severe delays and a 58% increased risk of milder ones. The study is reported online Feb. 14 in the journal Pediatrics.

Preterm births — those in which babies are delivered before 37 weeks' gestation — account for nearly 13% of the nation's 4.2 million annual births, according to the study. Late preterm births have risen 25% since 1990, from about 7% to 9% of all births.In addition, 5% to 40% 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.

Bonnie - nature has very good reasons for why pregnancies need to go to term. When you mess with the natural rhythm, whether for convenience or because of poor health habits, the results should not be surprising.

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