Early gross motor development of preterm infants according to the Alberta Infant Motor Scale

J Pediatr. 2006 Nov;149(5):617-22. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2006.07.025.


Objective: To systematically examine gross motor development in the first 18 months of life of preterm infants.

Study design: A total of 800 preterm infants (356 boys), ages between 1 and 18 months and corrected for degree of prematurity, were assessed with the use of the Alberta Infant Motor Scale.

Results: Comparison of the mean Alberta Infant Motor Scale scores of the preterm infants with the norm-referenced values derived from term infants revealed that as a group, the preterm infants scored significantly lower at all age levels, even with full correction for degree of prematurity.

Conclusions: In general, preterm infants exhibit different gross motor developmental trajectories compared with term infants in the first 18 months of life. The gross motor developmental profile of preterm infants may reflect a variant of typical gross motor development, which seems most likely to be specific for this population. As a consequence, adjusted norms should be used for proper evaluation and clinical decision-making in relation to preterm infants.

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Child Development / physiology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Infant Behavior / physiology
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature / physiology*
  • Male
  • Motor Skills / physiology*
  • Movement / physiology
  • Physical Examination
  • Posture / physiology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Time Factors
  • Weight-Bearing / physiology