Early developmental trajectories of preterm infants

Maya Yaari, David Mankuta, Ayelet Harel-Gadassi, Edwa Friedlander, Benjamin Bar-Oz, Smadar Eventov-Friedman, Nimrod Maniv, David Zucker, Nurit Yirmiya*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Background and objectives: Preterm infants are at risk for neuro-developmental impairments and atypical developmental trajectories. The aims of this study were to delineate early developmental trajectories of preterm and full-term infants. Methods: The cognitive, language, and motor development of 149 infants – 19 extremely preterm (EPT), 34 very preterm (VPT), 57 moderately preterm (MPT), and 39 full-term (FT) – was evaluated using Mullen Scales at 1, 4, 8, 12, and 18 months. Mixed models were applied to examine group differences. Gender, maternal education, and neurobehavior were included as predictors of developmental trajectories. Results: The EPT and VPT infants achieved significantly lower scores than the FT infants in all domains, with a significantly increasing gap over time. The MPT infants’ trajectories were more favorable than those of the EPT and VPT infants yet lower than the FT infants on the Visual Reception, Gross, and Fine Motor subscales. Male gender and lower maternal education were associated with lower scores that declined over time. Abnormal neonatal neurobehavior was associated lower Mullen scores and with less stability in scores over time. Conclusions: The EPT and VPT infants were found to have disadvantages across all domains. The MPT infants revealed more favorable developmental trajectories yet displayed vulnerability compared to the FT infants. Gender, maternal education, and neonatal neurobehavior are important in predicting the developmental outcomes of preterm infants.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)12-23
Number of pages12
JournalResearch in Developmental Disabilities
StatePublished - Oct 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier Ltd


  • Cognitive development
  • Developmental trajectories
  • Language development
  • Motor development
  • Neonatal neurobehavior
  • Preterm infants


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