Wonder why some parents worry more than the others? A new study says that parents of very premature babies are more worried about their grown-up child’s lives than parents whose babies are born at full term. The study also shows that those born very premature agree with their parents. ‘Previous work from Canada had suggested that the health-related quality of life of preterm born individuals may decrease as they reach adulthood. However, this study found while the quality of life improves for term-born adults it remains lower for preterm born participants,’ said the first author of the survey Nicole Baumann from the University of Warwick in the Britain.
The team conducted analyses of health-related quality of life of participants and compared the perception of parents whose children were born very preterm with a control group born at term. They also analysed the opinions of their children. In the study, published in the American journal Pediatrics, 260 participants born very preterm, at 31 weeks or less, or with very low birth weight, less than 1.5 Kg, were compared to 229 who were born full term. The academics looked at health-related issues such as vision, hearing, speech, emotion, dexterity and pain. The participants and their parents were asked when they were 13 and then as adults at age 26. They asked questions relating to these such as ‘are you able to recognise a friend on the other side of the street?’ and ‘are you happy and interested in life?’
The researchers found that participants with lower health-related quality of life had more often periods of unemployment, more often received social benefits, had fewer friends and were less likely to a partner. The results reveal that their parents believe the quality does diminish, particularly in pain and emotion. ‘Very preterm individuals are at risk for health problems and lower health-related quality of life in childhood,’ stated co-author Peter Bartmann from the University Hospital Bonn in Germany.