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Preterm Birth

For humans, preterm birth is defined as birth before 37 weeks’ gestation. This entry first summarizes statistics on the rate of preterm birth and associated health risks. Next, the entry identifies the developmental consequences of preterm birth during infancy and early childhood, including the risk of impairments to attention, executive functioning, language, motor skills and social cognition, and the effects of preterm birth on parent–child interactions. Finally, the entry summarizes the outcomes of preterm birth in adolescence, young adulthood, and later life, and it describes evidence of developmental cascades following preterm birth.

Definition, Prevalence, and Survival

Preterm birth is defined as birth before 37 weeks’ gestation. In countries where gestational dating is less common or less exact, low birth weight is sometimes used as a proxy for ...

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