Duration of Neonatal Antibiotic Exposure in Preterm Infants in Association with Health and Developmental Outcomes in Early Childhood

Nancy Deianova*, Nanne K. de Boer, Hafsa Aoulad Ahajan, Cilla Verbeek, Cornelieke S.H. Aarnoudse-Moens, Aleid G. Leemhuis, Mirjam M. van Weissenbruch, Anton H. van Kaam, Daniel C. Vijbrief, Chris V. Hulzebos, Astrid Giezen, Veerle Cossey, Willem P. de Boode, Wouter J. de Jonge, Marc A. Benninga, Hendrik J. Niemarkt, Tim G.J. de Meij

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

10 Downloads (Pure)


Over 90% of preterm neonates are, often empirically, exposed to antibiotics as a potentially life-saving measure against sepsis. Long-term outcome in association with antibiotic exposure (NABE) has insufficiently been studied after preterm birth. We investigated the association of NABE-duration with early-childhood developmental and health outcomes in preterm-born children and additionally assessed the impact of GA on outcomes. Preterm children (GA < 30 weeks) participating in a multicenter cohort study were approached for follow-up. General expert-reviewed health questionnaires on respiratory, atopic and gastrointestinal symptoms were sent to parents of children > 24 months’ corrected age (CA). Growth and developmental assessments (Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development (BSID) III) were part of standard care assessment at 24 months’ CA. Uni- and multivariate regressions were performed with NABE (per 5 days) and GA (per week) as independent variables. Odds ratios (OR) for health outcomes were adjusted (aOR) for confounders, where appropriate. Of 1079 infants whose parents were approached, 347 (32%) responded at a mean age of 4.6 years (SD 0.9). In children with NABE (97%), NABE duration decreased by 1.6 days (p < 0.001) per week of gestation. Below-average gross-motor development (BSID-III gross-motor score < 8) was associated with duration of NABE (aOR = 1.28; p = 0.04). The aOR for constipation was 0.81 (p = 0.04) per gestational week. Growth was inversely correlated with GA. Respiratory and atopic symptoms were not associated with NABE, nor GA. We observed that prolonged NABE after preterm birth was associated with below-average gross-motor development at 24 months’ CA, while a low GA was associated with lower weight and stature Z-scores and higher odds for constipation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number967
Number of pages13
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun-2023


  • atopy
  • growth
  • neonatal antibiotic exposure
  • pediatric constipation
  • preterm
  • psychomotor development

Cite this