Study Finds Some Developmental Delays In 'Late-Preterm' Infants

For further information, contact Melissa Maimann at Essential Birth Consulting. Link to article

Babies who are born at 34 to 36 weeks' gestation were 36% more likely than full-term infants to have developmental delays in kindergarten, according to a recent study. The study supports the push not to perform scheduled caesareans for convenience. It is well-known that when a labour starts spontaneously, the baby is most likely mature.

More than 4% of the late-preterm infants in the study experienced a developmental delay or disability in kindergarten, compared with nearly 3% of full-term infants, defined as those born at 37 weeks' gestation or later.

Preterm births are on the increase. About 70% of preterm births are considered to be in the late-preterm category. One of the most common reasons for early births is that doctors induce labour because of blood pressure problems in the woman. Preterm labour of unknown causes also can result in preterm births, but sometimes those labours are stopped to allow for the baby's lungs to mature.

Midwifery continuity of care can help prevent preterm births 2 main ways:

1. The continuity of care model means that the midwife and woman develop a relationship based on mutual trust and respect, and the midwife knows the woman so well that she may be able to detect complications before they develop.

2. Midwifery care, whether at home or in hospital, is highly unlikely to result in a scheduled caesarean or induction for the sake of convenience.

Melissa Maimann, Essential Birth Consulting.