Consequences of Premature Birth


Premature birth may affect an infant—or later in childhood phase, even if the birth has well been after completion of ‘full term’. That seemingly pretty negligible time of a few days to weeks in the womb matters, if we go by the latest scientific researches in this field.

The most concerned aspect is the slower brain development in the concerned children—even those born completing their 37 to 41 weeks in mother’s womb, a duration taken as full term conventionally. As a recent study reports, a few more days in womb may potentially reflect in a child’s improved performance later at school tests.

The study compared the performances of children born completing 37 or 38 weeks with those having completed two more weeks. They found a striking difference in the performance of children. The children considered for the study were around eight years old.

To be more concrete, they compared their performances at reading and third standard math. The gap in the performance was not strikingly wide, but there was a correlation in 37/38-weekers and 41-weekers and their performances.

The study was conducted by researchers from Columbia University Medical Center in association with New York Presbyterian Hospital, New York. The inferences of the study are widely endorsed by people in relevant niches like pediatrics and education.

The lessons

As the issue is new for detailed studies and there may still be more facets of the issue to be brought forth in future only, the only lesson is to take care during the last weeks of pregnancy to avoid premature deliveries. There are cases when even physicians may prescribe an earlier delivery considering the needs of the prospective mothers.

But now it is high time to honor the nature and even support that to take its own course instead of taming that to people’s needs or conveniences.While it is stressed now that no conscious deliberations should be made towards premature (even slightly) deliveries, this stress is equally pertinent for the well-off people and deprived sections of the society.


Such studies call for redefining the very concept of normal gestation period (course of pregnancy). It is important to ensure that babies are born completing the full 41 weeks of pregnancy for many reasons—both clear as well as obscure at the present stage of development of science.

Science still knows only 5 percent of the intricacies of human brain. Equally important fact is that the knowledge on the gestational development is also far from being complete at present. The fetal development and the respective process of cell division, as regulated genetically, is also a challenging field as of now before the science to explore.

The point is that a few days or weeks less in mother’s womb may have its lifelong effect on the child’s life—particularly his mental and intellectual abilities.


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