Does Premature Birth Increase the Likelihood of Adult Disability?

Does Premature Birth Increase the Likelihood of Adult Disability?

The National Board of Health and Welfare in Sweden conducted a study that involved about half a million individuals who were born between 1973 and 1979. Of this control group, about four fifths were full term births, about twenty thousand were born moderately pre-term, and three thousand were very pre-term.

The study showed there was a direct correlation between disability among young adults and how premature they were born. In fact, individuals who were very premature were about four times more likely to be disabled as young adults, moderately pre-term individuals were about fifty percent more likely to have at least one disability, and even those who were slightly premature were about twenty-five percent more likely than a full gestational individual to have a disability.

The report goes on the state that individuals who are born pre-term are more likely to live with their parents as adults. They also are less likely to complete secondary education and have a likelihood of lower salaries.

In an age where increasing numbers of premature birth children are surviving to adulthood due to improvements in prenatal and neonatal care, there is an economic motivation for secondary prevention of potential disabling impairments associated with premature birth. To read the complete study in PDF format, click here.