According to new research, babies born “extremely” premature are at the highest risk levels for developmental problems between the ages of four and eight years old.
The study that was published by Dr. Pregory Moor of the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, stated that infants born at 22 to 25 weeks of gestation begin to show significant difficulty in IQ development and have an increased risk of cerebral palsy birth injuries and impairments of frontal lobe development. Such impairments result in the loss of visual or aural capabilities within developing children. Difficulties in development were noted within the first eight years.
While the risk of developing such issues did not change for the children within the low and high ends of the risk group, the total risk drops by 6% for each extra week of gestation.
"When parents learn that their baby may be born extremely prematurely, some of them want to know what to expect, and we really haven't been able to give them good answers," said Moore, a neonatologist, in a statement.
While the study's results won't apply to every premature born child, they "will give parents a much better picture than they had before of what to expect and consider when making decisions with their physicians and medical team about the care for their baby."
The new study used data collected from over 730 children from nine separate but related studies within Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. Studies from North America were not included. According to the authored release, the reason was "because they did not fit the desired high-quality criteria.”
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