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.