Expectant parents are usually worried about having a premature baby, who may be prone to health risks. A new study, however, concluded that many premature babies grow up to be healthy adults without any major illness.
More than 2.5 million children were analysed for the study. More than half of the ones born prematurely showed no serious health concerns in adulthood.
Preterm birth happens before 37 completed weeks of pregnancy. While early preterm is between 28 and 33 weeks, later preterm is 34 to 36 weeks.
“Preterm birth has been linked with higher long-term risks of several health problems, including heart, lung, neurological and mental disorders,” lead author Dr Casey Crump was quoted as saying.
Dr Crump, who is vice chair for research in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health at Icahn School of Medicine, added, “There were no studies that we know of that looked at good health in premature births into adulthood. These findings matter for the growing number of people born prematurely because they show that most can lead a healthy, resilient life with good overall function in adulthood.
That said, babies who are born extremely premature (22 to 27 weeks), however, can still face health complications, as per the study.
Dr Crump also pointed out that the third trimester of pregnancy is extremely crucial for foetal growth. “Preterm birth interrupts normal growth and maturation of all foetal organs, which can alter their structure and function,” he said.
The findings were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.