June 9, 2010
Gestational Age At Delivery Has Relationship With The Risk Of Special Educational Needs
Press release from PLoS Medicine
Research published this week in PLoS Medicine shows that there is an association between gestation of a baby at delivery and the risk of special educational needs in later life. This finding has important implications for the timing of elective Caesarean deliveries.
By analyzing the birth history of a cohort of more than 400,000 schoolchildren from Scotland, Jill Pell and colleagues show that compared to children born at 40 weeks, children born at 37Ã³ËÅ¾“ weeks of gestation were 1.16 times as likely to have an SEN. Although the risk of SEN was much higher in preterm than in early term babies, because many more children were born between 37 and 39 weeks (about a third of babies) than before 37 weeks (one in 20 babies), early term births accounted for 5.5% of cases of SEN whereas preterm deliveries accounted for only 3.6% of cases.
These results show that even a baby born at 39 weeks"”the normal timing for elective deliveries these days"”has an increased risk of SEN compared with a baby born a week later.
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