Premature babies are more prone to psychiatric risks: study

Premature babies are more prone to psychiatric risks: studyVery prematurely born babies are at higher risk of suffering psychiatric disorders by school age compared with their peers, according to a study by Melbourne-based Murdoch Children's Research Institute.

The study found that infants born very prematurely, before 32 weeks' gestation, are more prone to risks like brain abnormalities that later leads to social-emotional problems among many other risks.

The researchers studied a total of 177 very preterm children and 65 children who born at term, and found that nearly 25 per cent of the very preterm children were suffering from some kind of a psychiatric disorder by age of seven. This was nearly three times higher than psychiatric disorders in their peer group.

Anxiety disorders were found in 11 per cent of the very preterm children, while 10 per cent and 4.5 per cent of the children were found to be suffering from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and autism spectrum disorders, respectively.

The list of social risk factors includes mother's age at the time of the child’s birth, structure of the family, language spoken at home and education of primary caregiver.

Psychologist Dr. Karli Treyvaud, who led the study, said that the results offered a ray of hope as the risk factors detected by the researchers could be identified early in life, and the situation could be improved by making early intervention.