Gestational age within normal range and infants’ health and temperament at 3-months of age

Marsha Kaitz*, David Mankuta, Ann Marie Rokem, Stephen V. Faraone

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: To examine the association between gestational age (GA) at birth across the normal GA spectrum (37–41 weeks) and the temperament and health of 3-month old infants. Methods: The sample comprised 242 “low-risk” mothers and infants without chronic illnesses or severe pregnancy complications. Infant temperament was defined by three constructs: Negative Affectivity (NA), Extraversion, and Regulation, assessed by parents’ reports on the Infant Behavior Questionnaire. Infants’ health was defined as the number of nonroutine doctors’ visits attended by the infants since their release from the hospital after birth. Analyses employed a continuous measure of GA to assess outcomes across GAs and a categorical measure (37, 38, 39–41 weeks GA) to examine contrasts. Results: Extraversion was positively related to GA primarily due to the lower scores of infants born at 37 weeks compared to infants born at 39–41 weeks GA. NA showed a similar effect. The odds of infants born at 37 weeks attending a nonroutine medical visit were 2.8 times that of infants born full-term. Discussion: Infants born at 37 weeks GA express less affect and use more nonroutine medical services than do infants born at 39–41 weeks GA. The findings underscore the importance of considering the risks of pregnancy prolongation with the developmental risk associated with early-term delivery.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)111-120
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Volume38
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 3 Apr 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Keywords

  • Affect research
  • child adjustment
  • childbirth
  • obstetrics
  • pregnancy

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