Predictors of persistent and changing developmental problems of preterm children

Arend F Bos*, Jorijn Hornman, Andrea F de Winter, Sijmen A Reijneveld

*Corresponding author for this work

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BACKGROUND: Accurate prediction of persistent and emerging developmental problems in preterm-born children may lead to targeted interventions.

AIMS: To determine whether specific perinatal and social factors were associated with persistent, emerging, and resolving developmental problems of early-preterm (EPs) and moderately-and-late-preterm children (MLPs) from before to after school entry.

STUDY DESIGN: Observational longitudinal cohort study, part of the LOLLIPOP cohort-study.

SUBJECTS: 341 EPs and 565 MLPs.

OUTCOME MEASURES: Developmental problems using the Ages and Stages Questionnaire at ages 4 and 5. We collected data on perinatal and social factors from medical records. Using logistic regression analyses we assessed associations between 48 factors and persistent, emerging, and resolving problems.

RESULTS: Of EPs, 8.7% had persistent and 5.1% emerging problems; this was 4.3% and 1.9% for MLPs, respectively. Predictors for persistent problems included chronic mental illness of the mother, odds ratio (95% confidence interval) 8.01 (1.85-34.60), male sex 4.96 (2.28-10.82), being born small-for-gestational age (SGA) 2.39 (1.15-4.99), and multiparity 3.56 (1.87-6.76). Predictors for emerging problems included MLP birth with prolonged premature rupture of membranes (PPROM) 5.01 (1.38-18.14). Including all predictors in a single prediction model, the explained variance (Nagelkerke R2) was 21.9%, whereas this was 3.0% with only EP/MLP birth as predictor.

CONCLUSIONS: Only few perinatal and social factors had associations with persistent and emerging developmental problems for both EPs and MLPs. For children with specific neonatal conditions such as SGA, and PPROM in MLPs, problems may persist. Insight in risk factors largely improved the prediction of developmental problems among preterm children.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105350
Number of pages9
JournalEarly Human Development
Early online date2021
Publication statusPublished - May-2021


  • Neurodevelopment
  • Motor
  • Cognition
  • Neonatal
  • Maternal
  • Socioeconomic status
  • Late preterm
  • Moderately preterm
  • BORN
  • RISK

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