Early Developmental Outcomes Among Infants Born Early Term
Developmental Outcomes Among Infants
Background: The length of gestation has a strong impact on the child’s developmental outcomes. Early childhood development (during the first year of life) is crucial for life-long learning. We aimed at investigating the possible influence of early term birth on early child development by recording the age of attainment of early developmental milestones. Subjects and Methods: This prospective cohort study was conducted in a tertiary care teaching hospital in South India between Feb and Dec 2020. It included 70 full term and 50 early term neonates, born between 39- 40 weeks and 37-38 weeks respectively, who were followed up till 4 months of age. Clinical condition during the hospital stay was recorded. Attainment of social smile was collected by phone call. Head control grading was done at 4 months of age. Results: Neonatal morbidities were found to be higher among early term babies. The mean age of attainment of social smile was 31.38 days and 48.26 days among infants born at early term and full term respectively. Head control grading was normal in all full term born infants whereas 11% of early term infants did not achieve appropriate head control grading at the end of 4 months. These results were statistically significant. Conclusion: Our observations suggest that there is increased risk for adverse respiratory consequences and hyperbilirubinemia among infants born early-term. There is obvious relationship between gestation length and developmental outcomes of the child and hence early-term neonates have to be enrolled as high risk neonates to start early intervention for preventing neurodevelopmental impairment.
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