Older Gestational Age Linked To Better-Than-Average Academic Outcomes
Researchers from Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School's Child Health Institute of New Jersey found that the longer gestational window a baby has, the better they perform in subjects such as math, science, social studies, language, and literacy, according to .
The study, which was published in the journal, , found that even babies who were considered to be born at term had different academic outcomes depending on which week they were born.
According to the , while there has been the belief for years that babies are considered term at 37 weeks, there has been a shift as of late to consider 39 weeks as the new standard for babies being born at term. Not all healthcare professionals have changed their school of thought as of yet, so for many, 37 weeks is still thought of as a term versus what is now known by some as "early term," according to the publication.
However, with the results of the study, it makes sense to make 39 weeks the new standard for the term. This is because who are born at 37 to 38 weeks gestation did as those born between 39 to 40 weeks gestation. And those who were born at 41 weeks gestation fared the best.
This was discovered by researchers, according to , when they reviewed how nine-year-old children did in subjects such as mathematics, science and social studies, language, and literacy.
The performance of the children was then compared to their gestational age. And what researchers found, according to the , was that those who had the oldest gestational age fared the best in their performance of these subjects. More interestingly still, those who were born late-term, or 41 weeks gestation, had a larger advantage over those who were born in what is considered term to many, at 37 weeks gestation.
What this study shows is just how important it is for babies to reach the oldest gestational age possible for development in general.
While it has been known just how important from a physical developmental standpoint it is for babies to reach term or even slightly later, it was never known just how being born a few weeks apart at the stage that was considered term could have such a large impact on mental growth.
As such, if the mother is in good health and there is no medical reason to deliver at the 37-week mark, babies should be given the extra weeks in utero to have the strongest possible as they age.
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