Health perception by young adults born very preterm

Acta Paediatr. 2021 Nov;110(11):3021-3029. doi: 10.1111/apa.16056. Epub 2021 Aug 18.


Aim: This study assessed the self-reported health perception and use of health care by adults born very preterm before 30 weeks of gestation.

Methods: The participants were part of a cross-sectional observational study that assessed the global health of young adults aged 18-29 years born very preterm in Quebec, Canada. Health perception was explored from 2011 to 2016 using the second Short-Form 36 Health Survey (SF-36v2), and objective health measures were obtained. Further in-depth open-ended questions were asked in 2018.

Results: The 101 preterm subjects had similar perceptions of their health to 105 term-born controls, according to the SF-36v2, despite significantly more adverse health conditions. Their healthcare use was similar. However, the later in-depth questionnaire showed that 23% of 45 preterm subjects and 3% of 34 term-born subjects perceived their health as poorer than the general population. Major factors that could improve their respective health were lifestyle habits (74% vs. 81%) and eliminating specific adverse symptoms (52% vs. 27%). Only 10% of preterm individuals had been asked about their perinatal history by physicians.

Conclusion: Adults born very preterm said their health was poorer than the general population and identified specific factors that should be addressed during routine health monitoring.

Keywords: health-related quality of life; healthcare use; outcome research; patient perspectives; prematurity.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Extremely Premature*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Perception*
  • Pregnancy
  • Self Report
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult