Neurodevelopmental outcome of late-preterm infants A pragmatic review

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The number of late-preterm births (34(0/7) to 36(6/7) weeks of gestation at birth) has steadily increased over recent years. Recent reports suggest that late-preterm infants are at an increased risk of developing neurodevelopmental abnormalities, compared with full-term infants.


The aim of this paper is to carry out a pragmatic review of the current evidence regarding the neurodevelopmental risks of speech delay, cerebral palsy, cognitive delay, autism spectrum disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in late-preterm infants.


Evidence from cohort studies indicates that late-preterm infants have a higher risk of speech delay in the first two years, and cognitive delay and attention problems in early childhood, compared with infants born at term. However, the results are inconsistent. Some reports indicate 'catch up' development with speech and cognition. Developmental surveillance through regular follow-up of high-risk late-preterm infants is necessary to identify risks at the earliest.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)776-785
Number of pages10
JournalAustralian journal of general practice
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2018


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