Study reveals children who spend an extra week in the womb do better in school
OK, so everyone who has ever gone past their due date when pregnant (and I have – twice) can probably tell you a thing or two about just how looong those last few days are.
The thing is, though, it turns out that hanging on in there might be doing your baby all sorts of favours later in life if this new study is to be believed.
According to a study conducted across several universities, among them the University of Florida, there is a definitive link between babies born late and improved intelligence, with children who spend even just a few days extra in the womb doing better in school, researchers found.
Health researchers Jeffrey Roth at University of Florida found that babies born at late term - 41 weeks' gestation- are slightly more likely to be classified as gifted and have higher standardized test scores than babies born at full term, or at 40 weeks' gestation.
However, it is important to note that researchers also found that babies born at 41 weeks showed a slightly higher chance of having a physical disability than babies born at 40 weeks.
"What our findings suggest is that while 40 weeks remains the safest time for most babies to be delivered, in uncomplicated pregnancies, going another week seems to have beneficial effects on later performance in school," said Roth, a research professor in department of pediatrics' division of neonatology, within the UF College of Medicine.
The researchers drew their results from 1.5 million Florida birth records between 1994 and 2002, and found that children born at the 41st week scored somewhat better on standard tests given at schools in Florida.
Roth also explained that while of course many events that occur between birth and entrance into school can and will affect children's cognitive performance, the study sample was still large enough to illustrate the clear connection between weeks of gestation and school test scores.
The researchers say the study is not intended to be used for medical decision-making, but simply to provide additional information to physicians and families who are considering whether to induce delivery at full term or wait another week until late term.
Did YOU go past your due date when you were expecting? By how long? Let us know in the comments or tweet us at @Herfamilydotie