Early Gestation Births Linked to Academic Delays

Early Gestation Births Linked to Academic Delays
Wednesday, July 4, 2012 - 5:17pm

Babies born just two weeks before their due date may face academic difficulties when they reach third grade.

Studies have found that elementary school children may do better in math and reading if they were born at least 39 weeks gestation.

In a recent study, kids born at 37 or 38 weeks scored worse on reading and math achievement tests in the 3rd grade relative to children born at 39, 40 or 41 weeks.

"Although this is a statistically significant difference, it's a small difference," said Kimberly Mole, M.D., Ph.D. "That's about the size of 1 and a half iq points."

This does not mean an earlier birth causes or leads to academic problems. but the study does suggest the brain is growing very rapidly during those last few weeks in the womb.

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