FRIDAY, Oct. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Late-preterm birth (at 34 to 36 weeks of gestation) may lead to long-term socioeconomic disadvantages not explained by the parents' socioeconomic position (SEP), according to a study published in the Oct. 1 issue of Pediatrics.
Kati Heinonen, Ph.D., from University of Helsinki, and colleagues assessed data from 8,993 Finnish men and women in the Helsinki Birth Cohort Study born between 1934 and 1944. Hospital birth records were used to ascertain gestational age, and the Finnish National Census provided socioeconomic attainments.
The researchers found that, compared to those born at term, those born late-preterm were more likely to be manual workers, have a basic or upper secondary level of education, and belong to the lowest third of incomes; they were also less likely to belong to the highest third based on their incomes. Additionally, late-preterm individuals were less likely to have higher occupations and more likely to have lower occupations than their fathers. They were also less likely to be upwardly mobile based on incomes, and men were more likely to be downwardly mobile based on education.
"This study demonstrates that there are considerable long-term socioeconomic disadvantages associated with late-preterm birth, which are not explained by the parent-of-origin SEP," the authors write.