Premature Babies Less Successful in Life

Giving birth to a baby 2 weeks ahead of time can affect its training and employment opportunities. This was stated by the scientists from the University of Helsinki.


The scientists have discovered that the babies born during the 34-36th weeks of pregnancy, are mainly capable of physical work and generally earn less than their peers born at the time proper. According to the author of the study, Katri Räikkönen, previous research has proved that the children, who are born earlier than the expected time, have behavioral and emotional problems, as well as difficulties in schooling.

The new study shows that premature birth has negative impact on the children of school age (performance is meant) and can influence their health and socio-economic status in the future. However, it is not clear yet whether preterm birth can be a major cause of such effects. There may be other factors that influence the baby’s development and future achievements. For example, Nancy Reichman from Robert Wood Johnson Medical School at Rutgers University in New Jersey comments on the work of her colleagues and says that the parents’ social status can be the factor: in poor families, babies are often born prematurely.

During the research, Katri Räikkönen studied the database of occupations, incomes, and achievements in education of 9 thousand people born in one of two hospitals in Helsinki, in the 1930-s and 1940-s. About 500 of them were born prematurely, and the rest were born during the 37th-41st weeks of pregnancy. The scientists have found that the babies born prematurely had 65% less chance to make a successful career, which is not true of their peers born at the expected time. In 31% of cases, they had basic or secondary education, and their income in middle age was low. In addition, they had lower social status.

The experts explain this result saying that the child’s brain develops throughout pregnancy. That is why the children, who are born prematurely, face different challenges in life.

The results of the scientific research were published in the Pediatrics journal.


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