Families Report Positive Outcomes As Premature Children Enter Adulthood
Families of children born premature fare well long-term, even when those children experience developmental disabilities, new research indicates.
In the first study to look at the impact of prematurity on families into young adulthood, researchers followed about 250 families, half of whom had a child with extremely low birth weight and half of whom had a child born with normal weight.
Mothers in both groups reported similar levels of personal mental health, marital and family happiness when their children reached their early 20s, according to findings reported Monday in the journal Pediatrics.
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At the same time, however, mothers of low birth weight children also reported more stress and were more likely to say that their child’s situation negatively affected their work-life, for example.
Interestingly, in some cases having a child who was born at an extremely low weight proved to be a plus. Families of children born premature who experienced cerebral palsy, intellectual disability or another type of neurosensory impairment, or NSI, were less likely to be dysfunctional.
“One possible explanation may be that families of children with NSI experienced more crises, which might have brought them closer together,” the authors wrote.