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Kids Born Just a Few Weeks Early at Risk of Behavioral Problems, Study Suggests

26th December, 2011

ScienceDaily (Dec. 5, 2011) — Children born just a few weeks too early are significantly more likely to have behavioural and/or emotional problems in the pre-school years, suggests research published online in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.
It is well known that children born very premature (under 32 weeks) tend to have significantly more behavioural and/or emotional problems than children born full term, but it has not been clear what impact birth just a few weeks too early might have.
While the rate of very premature births has remained more or less constant for some time, the rate of moderately premature births has been rising, say the Dutch researchers.
They base their findings on more than 1,500 children whose behaviour and emotional development were assessed at the age of 4, using validated tests. All the children were part of a long term study looking at the growth, development, and general health of children born prematurely (The Longitudinal Preterm Outcome Project or Lollypop).
Just under 1,000 children were born between 32 and 35 weeks of pregnancy, classified as “moderately premature,” and just under 600 were born at term.
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