28 March 2008

Premature birth negatively affects the health of both the child and the entire population

Scientists at Duke University (Durham, North Carolina), working under the guidance of Dr. Geeta Swamy, have found that the consequences of premature birth include lower success in learning, poorer reproductive function and an increase in the likelihood of the birth of the next generation of premature babies with medical complications.

Premature birth occurring before 37 weeks of pregnancy is the main cause of infant mortality. It is known that premature birth increases the likelihood of various complications immediately after birth and in the first year of life, but the authors found that the problems continue until adolescence. Moreover, they claim that the more premature the baby was born, the greater the risk of developing various complications, and people born much earlier may experience the consequences of this throughout their lives.

In collaboration with specialists from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, American scientists analyzed the national population register containing information about the birth and death of the population to find out the effects of premature birth on life expectancy, reproduction of offspring and the likelihood of premature birth in the next generation. The work included data on people born in the period from 1967 to 1988. Deliveries between the 22nd and 37th weeks of pregnancy were considered premature.

Based on the results of the work , the researchers came to the following conclusions:

– the highest probability of infant death is typical for boys born between the 22nd and 27th weeks of pregnancy;
– men and women born prematurely are characterized by a lower level of reproduction than men and women born on time. The level of reproduction increases in direct proportion to the increase in the period of pregnancy. Women born prematurely are characterized by a higher risk of having premature babies and various medical complications in their development. A similar association was found for stillbirth and infant mortality;
– the degree of prematurity correlates with the probability that the child will not be able to get a good education later.

The term of delivery plays a very important role in the health of the child. Previously, the weight of a newborn was considered an indicator of well-being, but the authors argue that the gestation period is a much more indicative parameter.

Moreover, according to Swami, the results of the study raise an extremely important question concerning the long-term effects of the introduction of medical care achievements in the prenatal and postnatal periods. The survival rate of premature babies is growing due to medical advances, however, it may well be that by improving survival, we ultimately have a negative impact on the health and quality of life of humanity as a whole.

Portal "Eternal youth" www.vechnayamolodost.ru based on ScienceDaily materials


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