BALTIMORE — Despite comparable developmental outcomes at age 24 months, late-preterm children exhibited lower reading and math scores in preschool and kindergarten compared with full-term children, according to data presented here.
“Late-preterm infants manifest lower school outcomes compared to early-term, term and late-term infants. Little is known about the pattern of developmental skills of late-preterm [infants] prior to school age,” Prachi Edlagan Shah, MD, of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and colleagues wrote.
Prachi Edlagan Shah
To compare developmental outcomes from infancy to kindergarten among late-preterm infants born at 34 to 36 weeks’ gestation, early-term infants born at 37 to 38 weeks’ gestation, term infants born at 39 to 40 weeks’ gestation and late-term infants born at 41 weeks’ gestation, researchers analyzed data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Birth Cohort. Study participants included 1,400 late-preterm infants, 2,500 early-term infants, 3,600 term infants and 850 late-term infants. Development was assessed via the Bayley Short Form-Research Edition T-scores at 9 and 24 months and the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Birth Cohort reading and mathematics scores at preschool and kindergarten.
At 9 months, late-preterm infants had poorer developmental scores compared with infants born early term, term and late term (P < .0001).
This association was not present at 24 months but reemerged at preschool, according to researchers.
Compared with full-term infants, those born at late preterm had lower scores in preschool reading (P = .0008), preschool mathematics (P = .0006) and kindergarten reading (P = .0078).
“Although late-preterm infants demonstrate comparable developmental outcomes to full-term infants (early-term, term and late-term gestation) at 24 months, they demonstrate less optimal reading outcomes at preschool and kindergarten time points. Ongoing developmental surveillance for late-preterm infants is warranted into preschool and kindergarten,” the researchers concluded. – by Amanda Oldt
Shah P, et al. Developmental outcomes of late preterm infants from infancy to kindergarten in a nationally representative US sample. Presented at: Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting; April 30-May 3, 2016; Baltimore.
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