Long-term outcome following preterm birth
Infants born very early and/or much smaller than expected are at risk of higher rates of mortality and morbidity. A range of medical complications during the perinatal period pose a challenge for neonatal intensive care units (NICU), and follow-up studies demonstrate that this population is at increased risk for cognitive, behavioral, and emotional problems (Bhutta, Cleves, Casey, Cradock, & Anand, 2002). The outcomes for those born at the most immature end of this population are at even greater risk, and the survival of these infants has increased dramatically with the advances in perinatal care over the past half-century (Doyle, 2004a; Horbar et al., 2002; Noble, 2003). This chapter reviews the issues associated with prematurity from the perinatal period throughout childhood and adolescence.