Babies born earlier may risk setbacks

May 21, 2006

More mothers are giving birth a few weeks shy of a full pregnancy, which could lead to health and developmental complications, a report says.

The Washington Post said so many babies are born before full term that the average pregnancy in the United States has shortened from 40 to 39 weeks.

The reasons for women giving birth earlier vary from medical to societal trends. More women are waiting until their thirties to have children, which puts them at more of a risk for needing labor intervention. Also, the availability of fertility treatments and medical advancements enable mothers to slow or speed up delivery, often in an effort to coordinate the birth so loved ones can be there, the Post said.

Although some obstetricians see earlier deliveries as a positive change -- a reduction in stillbirths and labor complications -- many doctors fear that this trend may lead to long-term developmental and behavioral setbacks.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Sociologist finds stay-at-home dads' experiences bring mutual understanding to couples

Related Stories

Galaxy dust findings confound view of early Universe

January 31, 2015

What was the Universe like at the beginning of time? How did the Universe come to be the way it is today?—big questions and huge attention paid when scientists attempt answers. So was the early-universe discovery that made ...

Current state of the American family

October 21, 2014

Most young Americans plan to get married someday, but more than 40 percent of births now occur outside marriage, and the American family itself has become far more diverse and varied.

Recommended for you

New Horizons data hint at underground ocean

July 30, 2015

Pluto wears its heart on its sleeve, and that has scientists gleaning intriguing new facts about its geology and climate. Recent data from NASA's New Horizons probe—which passed within 7,800 miles of the surface on July ...

The sound of music, according to physicists

July 30, 2015

Joshua Bodon is sick of hearing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." More specifically, he's sick of hearing one 25-second clip of the song repeated more than 550 times.

Power grid forecasting tool reduces costly errors

July 30, 2015

Accurately forecasting future electricity needs is tricky, with sudden weather changes and other variables impacting projections minute by minute. Errors can have grave repercussions, from blackouts to high market costs. ...

Unusual red arcs spotted on icy Saturn moon Tethys

July 30, 2015

Like graffiti sprayed by an unknown artist, unexplained arc-shaped, reddish streaks are visible on the surface of Saturn's icy moon Tethys in new, enhanced-color images from NASA's Cassini spacecraft.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.