Aim: To describe the development of very preterm children free of cerebral palsy or severe sensory impairment in the domains of gross and fine motor functions, language and sociability at a corrected age of 2 years; to identify factors associated with performances in each domain.
Methods: A total of 347 children born in 1997 before 33 weeks of gestation, part of the EPIPAGE population-based cohort study, had their psychomotor development assessed with the Brunet-Lezine scale.
Results: The study population had a mean gestational age of 30.1 +/- 2.0 weeks. Lower developmental quotients (DQ) were observed in the study group compared to the reference sample (96 +/- 13 vs 104 +/- 8, p < 0.01). Fine motor function, language and sociability were all affected with a p value <0.01. Multivariate analysis showed that duration of intubation and parents' educational and occupational levels were the only variables significantly related to each developmental domain (p < 0.01).
Conclusions: Children very preterm and free of severe disabilities had mild delays in multiple areas of development. The mechanisms by which neonatal factors played a role need further investigation. However socioeconomic status had a great impact on development and our results underline the need for improved support of socioeconomically disadvantaged parents after a preterm birth.