Study finds that preemies face risks as they grow up

A study by Duke University researchers which followed 1.2 million births in Norway over two decades finds that babies born prematurely have higher death rates in childhood and are more likely to be childless in adulthood. It also questions the future risks for premature babies saved by modern medicine, asking if improving their survival is done at the expense of significant problems later on.

The study showed that the risk of death for preemies is high during their first year and it persists as they get older. The risk is also higher in boys than in girls. Causes are being analysed but birth defects and cancers play a role.

In adulthood, childlessness and lower levels of education are linked to being premature. Women who were premature are more likely to have premature babies themselves, increasing the risk for future generations.