Consecuencias a largo plazo del embarazo pretermino

Summary and Comment

Long-Term Consequences of Preterm Birth

Preterm birth affected both long-term survival and reproductive success.

Preterm birth (<37 weeks’ gestation) is associated with substantial infant mortality and childhood disability. To assess long-term risk, investigators analyzed data from a population-based birth registry in Norway of more than 1.1 million singleton births that occurred in 1967 through 1988; 5% were preterm births.

Based on follow-up through 2002, preterm birth was associated with diminished survival throughout childhood. Extremely preterm (22–27 weeks) boys had higher risk for early and late childhood mortality (relative risks, 5.3 and 7.0, respectively) compared with term boys. Extremely preterm girls had higher risk for early, but not late, childhood mortality (RR, 9.7) compared with term girls. Very preterm (27–33 weeks) boys, but not girls, had higher early and late childhood mortality (RR, 2.5 for both). Among those born from 1967 through 1976 and followed through 2004, reproduction rates (at ages 28–37 years) were 76% and 66% lower for men and women born extremely preterm compared with their term counterparts.

Comment: With this retrospective study design, researchers could not assess causal factors, particularly for the association between preterm birth and reproductive success, which certainly involves multiple complex biologic and psychosocial factors. The main point is that consequences of prematurity continue well into adolescence and early adulthood.

Thomas L. Schwenk, MD

Published in Journal Watch General Medicine April 3, 2008


Swamy GK et al. Association of preterm birth with long-term survival, reproduction, and next-generation preterm birth. JAMA 2008 Mar 26; 299:1429.

Original article (Subscription may be required)

Medline abstract (Free)

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