Developmental characteristics of late preterm infants at six and twelve months: a prospective study

Infant Behav Dev. 2013 Jun;36(3):451-6. doi: 10.1016/j.infbeh.2013.03.010. Epub 2013 May 1.


Aim: To longitudinally assess the neurodevelopmental outcomes of late preterm infants (LPI) through the first year of life and to investigate for perinatal conditions that may affect developmental outcomes.

Methods: The study population comprised of 124 LPI, born in a single Israeli inborn center over an eight months period. Thirty-three term infants (TI) were recruited for comparison. Alberta Infant Motor Scale (AIMS) for gross motor evaluation was performed at 6 months of age and the Griffiths Mental Development Scales (GMDS) were performed at 12 months (chronological age). Maternal and neonatal covariates, potentially associated with low developmental scores, were analyzed by multivariate logistic regression models.

Results: At chronological age of 6 and 12 months, LPI performed significantly lower than TI on all subscales, but when scores were corrected for post conception age, developmental scores were similar in the two groups. In a multivariate model of logistic regression, male gender, emergent cesarean section and higher maternal education (>14 years) were found to be associated with increased risk for lower developmental scores at 12 month of age in LPI.

Conclusions: LPI do not complete their neurodevelopmental maturation by the first year of life. Males and those born after emergent cesarean section (CS) are at increased risk for lower developmental scores. Correction of age to term birth in LPI may still be needed at this age.

MeSH terms

  • Child Development / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature / physiology*
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sex Factors