University of Oulu

Sammallahti, S., Heinonen, K., Andersson, S. et al. Growth after late-preterm birth and adult cognitive, academic, and mental health outcomes. Pediatr Res 81, 767–774 (2017) doi:10.1038/pr.2016.276

Growth after late-preterm birth and adult cognitive, academic, and mental health outcomes

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Author: Sammallahti, Sara1,2,3; Heinonen, Kati1; Andersson, Sture2;
Organizations: 1Department of Psychology and Logopedics, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
2Children’s Hospital, Helsinki University Hospital and University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
3National Institute for Health and Welfare, Helsinki, Finland
4University BHF Centre for Cardiovascular Sciences, Queen’s Medical Research Institute, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
5School of Health Sciences, University of Tampere and Tampere University Hospital, Tampere, Finland
6Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, Finland, Helsinki
7Department of Psychology, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK
8Folkhälsan Research Center, Helsinki, Finland
9Department of General Practice and Primary Health Care, University of Helsinki and Helsinki University Hospital, Helsinki, Finland
10Vasa Central Hospital, Vasa, Finland
11Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Oulu University Hospital and University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 4.9 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Springer Nature, 2017
Publish Date: 2019-11-12


Background: Late-preterm birth (at 340/7–366/7 wk gestation) increases the risk of early growth faltering, poorer neurocognitive functioning, and lower socio-economic attainment. Among early-preterm individuals, faster early growth benefits neurodevelopment, but it remains unknown whether these benefits extend to late-preterm individuals.

Methods: In 108 late-preterm individuals, we examined if weight, head, or length growth between birth, 5 and 20 months’ corrected age, and 56 mo, predicted grade point average and special education in comprehensive school, or neurocognitive abilities and psychiatric diagnoses/symptoms at 24–26 y of age.

Results:For every 1 SD faster weight and head growth from birth to 5 mo, and head growth from 5 to 20 mo, participants had 0.19–0.41 SD units higher IQ, executive functioning score, and grade point average (95% confidence intervals (CI) 0.002–0.59 SD), and lower odds of special education (odds ratio (OR) = 0.49–0.59, 95% CIs 0.28–0.97), after adjusting for sex, gestational age, follow-up age, and parental education. Faster head growth from 20 to 56 mo was associated with less internalizing problems; otherwise we found no consistent associations with mental health outcomes.

Conclusion: Faster growth during the critical early period after late-preterm birth is associated with better adult neurocognitive functioning, but not consistently with mental health outcomes.

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Series: Pediatric research
ISSN: 0031-3998
ISSN-E: 1530-0447
ISSN-L: 0031-3998
Volume: 81
Issue: 5
Pages: 767 - 774
DOI: 10.1038/pr.2016.276
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3123 Gynaecology and paediatrics
Funding: Study baseline and childhood follow-up was financially supported by the Bundesministerium für Forschung und Technik (Federal Government of Germany, Ministry of Science and Technology) program grants PKE 4 and JUG 14 (FKZ’s 0706224, 0706564, and 01EP9504) to Klaus Riegel, Dieter Wolke, and Barbara Ohrt. The work by Lano was supported by Foundation of Pediatric Research. Adulthood follow-up was financially supported by the Academy of Finland program grants to Eriksson, Raikkonen, and Kajantie. The work by Heinonen, M. Lahti, J. Lahti, and Pesonen was supported by Academy of Finland postdoctoral grants. The work by S. Sammallahti was supported by the University of Helsinki Research Fund. Eriksson was supported also by grant from Samfundet Folkhälsan and Andersson from Päivikki and Sakari Sohlberg Foundation and Finska Läkaresällskapet.
Copyright information: © 2017 International Pediatric Research Foundation, Inc. This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in Pediatric Research. The final authenticated version is available online at: