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Early years

20th Jul 2023

Most premature babies have no long term health issues, study finds


This is great to hear.

A study has found that the majority of premature babies grow up with no major health issues.

For a long time, it was assumed that babies born before term would have compromised immune systems and would be more likely to have health problems as adults.

However, that is not likely the case.

The Swedish study found that most premature babies born between the 1970s to the 1990s grew up without any sign of health issues.

The objective of the study was to determine the prevalence of survival without major health conditions in adulthood among persons born preterm vs full-term.

Preterm birth has often been associated with cardiometabolic, respiratory, and neuropsychiatric disorders in adulthood.

The study looked at the data of over two million babies born in Sweden, tracking their health progress into adulthood.

From 1973 to 1997, 54.6 percent of those born preterm in Sweden (gestational age <37 weeks) and 22.3 percent of those born extremely preterm (22-27 weeks) were alive with no major comorbidities at ages 18 to 43 years, compared with 63.0 percent of those born full-term.

The conclusion was that among Swedish babies born prematurely, a large percentage survived into adulthood and had no major health issues down the line.

One of the scientists working on the study, Dr. Casey Crump said;

“Our findings reflect the apparent resilience of preterm birth survivors in maintaining good health. Despite increased risks of several chronic disorders, the majority can still have good overall health in adulthood.”

Hundreds of babies are born prematurely in Ireland every year so if your child happens to be one of them this study should give you some peace of mind that your strong little fighter will continue to be a fighter their whole life.