Premature babies with low-birth weights have a higher probability of being single, unemployed and suffer from chronic health problems when they grow up, finds a new study.
Saroj Saigal and colleagues from McMaster University in Canada compared the functioning of adults (ages 29 to 36) who were extremely low-birth-weight (ELBW) with adults who were born at normal weight at term.
The first generation of ELBW premature infants (less than 1,000 grammes) who were born after the introduction of neonatal intensive care has now survived into their fourth decade, researchers said.
The study included 100 ELBW survivors and 89 normal-birth-weight control participants for comparison.
While the groups did not differ on the highest educational level achieved or in family and partner relationships, there were differences in other areas.
ELBW survivors as adults were less likely to be employed and more likely to earn less money, researchers said. They were also more likely to remain single. Fewer ELBW survivors had children. They were more likely to suffer from chronic health conditions and have lower self esteem, researchers said.
However, ELBW survivors were less likely to suffer from drug or alcohol problems. “It is essential that these individuals receive necessary support and continued monitoring,” they said.
The findings were published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics.
Follow @htlifeandstyle for more.