- Preterm babies are born before the 37th week of pregnancy
- Preemies have low birth weight and underdeveloped organs
- Infants born weighing less than 2.2 pounds (998 grams) are
likely to have higher body fat and lower lean mass in adulthood
- Preemies are at the risk of developing abnormal blood glucose
(dysglycemia) in their 30s
A baby born
before 37 weeks of pregnancy is a preterm baby. In the United States, one of
every ten infants is born prematurely. Preemies weigh much less than full-term
babies, and they may have health problems. They require special medical care in
a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) until their organs can work on their own.
A new study claims that extremely premature babies are more likely to develop
dysglycemia (abnormal blood glucose) than normal-birth-weight children after
they reach the 30's.
Preterm Babies Have Abnormal Blood Glucose
study involved extremely low birth weight (ELBW) babies since their birth at
Hamilton Health Sciences between 1997 and 1982. The researchers at McMaster
University, led by pediatrics professor Dr. Saroj Saigal followed the health of
preterm babies. The study found that about 26 percent
of the premature babies are likely to have dysglycemia in their early 30s when
compared to 8 percent of the normal birth weight babies.
‘About 26% of the extremely low birth weight babies have dysglycemia (abnormalities in blood sugar levels) in their early 30s compared to 8% of the normal birth weight peers.’
refers to abnormalities in blood glucose levels. Type 1 and type 2 diabetes
are the two known type of dysglycemia. Other abnormalities of blood sugar
levels such as gestational diabetes
, prediabetes and drug-related
and genetically related abnormalities are other types of dysglycemia.
Babies born with
weight less than 2.2 pounds (998 grams) are more likely to have higher body fat
and lower lean mass in adulthood, although they have a similar body mass index
This is because premature babies
are living outside the womb during the developmental period of fat and muscles.
Growth and development happen throughout the gestational period, but crucial
development takes place in the final months and weeks.
Morrison, the principal investigator of the study and an associate professor of
pediatrics at McMaster's Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, said,
"ELBW babies live outside the womb during the most important developmental
period for fat and muscle development. We think that might be related to our
findings. It's important to know about these potential implications for the
ELBW babies, so that we can identify ways to help those born premature
counteract these potential influences on their health."
one of the largest and oldest longitudinal studies of extremely low birth
weight children, but we are learning how that early start in life impacts them throughout
their lives," said Morrison. "We very much appreciate the commitment
of these study participants who have helped us with these studies throughout
The study is
published in the journal Pediatrics
Problems for Preemies
are given extra medical attention due to some health problems such as
- Respiratory Distress
- Chronic Lung Disease
- Apnea and Bradycardia
- Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP)
- Developmental delay
- Vision problems
- Hearing problems
- Premature Babies - (https://medlineplus.gov/prematurebabies.html)
- Study shows extreme preemies must watch blood sugars and weight - (http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-09/mu-sse083116.php)