The smallest surviving premature babies eventually attain levels of education, employment and independence that are almost indistinguishable from those of normal weight babies, according to the latest findings from a continuing Canadian study that began 28 years ago.
The researchers did find significant sex differences, with women doing better in all respects than men.
“Males are more vulnerable,” said Dr. Saigal, a professor of pediatrics at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. “Survival rates are lower. They have a higher proportion of neurological difficulties, and they don’t do as well in school. This is consistent with every other study.”
Here is a link to the JAMA article: Transition of Extremely Low-Birth-Weight Infants From Adolescence to Young Adulthood
I’m not sure what to think of the NYT’s headline, other than to wrinkle my nose, but it confirmed a few things I knew from personal experience. When I was younger I never thought a big thing of my preemie-ness. My mother mostly downplayed it .. yes, she cries at every moment I let her (kindergarden, first lost tooth, elementary graduation, high school, college, marriage…) but don’t most happy parents? Otherwise we never really thought “Wow, you did all of this and you are a preemie”. It did come up a bit in our discussions a bit when I hit 16 and up — mostly because I wanted to do something to help other families struggling with a preemie. I’m much healither than we were told I would be. The little things that are “wrong” are just little things, and I try not to let them get me down. I guess I never thought that something was really different (besides my being small all over) just like someone who is born deaf, blind, or without 10 fingers and 10 toes generally doesn’t think it’s different or might have it any other way.
As for conversations of preemies, it is interesting now.. e was born on my due date (and on time, he’s always perfect). We often play back and forth about what happened in those 98 days.. (I, for one, am smarter as I refused to be born in the ’80s.. ;) )
In other preemie news, I’ve given up on making hats .. they aren’t coming out right, so I’m going to try to knit these teddy bears. I’m just now finishing one that is made with cheap acrylic and then I’ll use the expensive yarn. I feel that with the added stress (and expense) of a preemie, it’s a bit impractical, but …
Many thanks to Sandra & Evan for alerting me to the NYT article.