Developmental Risk Factors of Late Preterm Infants in Early Childhood

Jennifer L Gilbert, Pace University


Due to the rise in late preterm births, it is becoming increasingly important to better understand the developmental course of late preterm infants. Late preterm infants, defined as those born between 34 and 36 6/7 weeks gestation represent 74% of preterm births (Loftin, Habli, Snyder, Cormier, Lewis, & DeFranco, 2010). When compared to full-term infants, late preterm infants are at an increased risk for neonatal medical complications and inferior cognitive, academic, and social-emotional outcomes later in life. To better understand their degree of risk it is beneficial to compare them to early preterm infants, as the literature clearly indicates they are at increased risk for negative developmental outcomes. The purpose of this study was to gain a better understanding of the developmental course of preterm infants, particularly how gestational age moderates development over the first two years of life. The participants for the study included 343 preterm infants treated in the Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICUs) of New York University Langone Tisch and Bellevue Hospital Centers. All participants attended the Neonatal Comprehensive Care Program. Neonatal medical and developmental follow-up data were included in the study. Results of the study indicated that there were no significant interactions between gestational age at birth (continuous or dichotomized) and age at follow-up (linear or curvilinear) in predicting developmental outcomes, as measured by the gross motor, visual reception, fine motor, expressive language, and receptive language Mullen domains at three time points. There were some differences observed in mean t-scores between early and late preterm infants; however, in general results indicated that gestational age was negatively correlated with development. The results of this study illustrate the need for continued future research to better understand the developmental similarities and differences between early and late preterm infants.

Subject Area


Recommended Citation

Gilbert, Jennifer L, "Developmental Risk Factors of Late Preterm Infants in Early Childhood" (2016). ETD Collection for Pace University. AAI10020897.



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