CHICAGO (AP) It's the largest-ever study of the long-term consequences of premature births. Duke university researchers found that children born early have higher death rates in childhood and are more likely to be childless in adulthood.
The research followed 1.2 million Norwegian births over decades and raises questions about future risks for even tinier, sicker babies saved today by modern medicine. The findings add to known consequences of prematurity such as lung problems, disabilities,
mental retardation and school delays.
U.S. rates of premature births climbed steadily during the past two decades partly because of fertility treatments that result in multiple births and older mothers contributed to the rise.
The study appears in Wednesday's journal of the American Medical Association.