A new study revealed that premature babies tend to have a tougher time in social interactions as adults.
We have heard it time and time again that "every week counts" when it comes to pregnancy. It is the healthiest for babies to wait until at least 39 weeks to allow the child to be fully developed and to have the best chance of being healthy. Even with all of the research, many hospitals still allow mothers to give birth to children starting at 37 weeks just because they "don't want to be pregnant anymore." Mothers should not be induced, or have a C-section before 39 weeks unless it is dangerous for the mother or baby to continue on with her pregnancy. Of course, many women go into spontaneous labor before 39 weeks that nobody can control. Sometimes something happens where babies are born prematurely and it is nobody's fault, but premature babies are at higher risk for long term effects.
A new study has shown that babies who are born prematurely (those babies born before 37 weeks) will have a harder time transitioning into adulthood. The study revealed that the babies who were born prematurely dealt with social challenges. A study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association found premature babies are less likely to experience parenthood, romantic partnerships, and sexual intercourse.
In the study, there were 4.4 million participants. Researchers found that adults who were born prematurely were 38% less likely to be in a romantic relationship and 22% less likely to be parents compared to adults born full-term. The adults who were premies were also 3x less likely to have sexual interactions. “Preterm born children have been previously found to have poorer social interactions in childhood that make it harder for them to master social transitions such as finding a partner, which in turn is proven to boost your well-being,” the study’s author Dr. Marina Goulart de Mendonca said in a statement.
The university’s psychology professor and senior author Dieter Wolke explains the importance of children being socialized at a very young age. Many premature babies have to spend the first few weeks, or months, in the NICU and lose out on being around other children. Then parents are afraid to take them out because they are so "fragile." It is strongly encouraged for babies to interact with other babies so that they can start learning social skills instead of avoiding human contact. Parents think that they are protecting their premies, but they might actually be causing them social harm. Wolk says, "As preterm children tend to be more timid and shy, supporting them making friends and be integrated in their peer group will help them to find romantic partners, have sexual relationships and to become parents.”