More babies are surviving premature birth than ever before, but new research has found they suffer lifelong problems. Preemies face health challenges into adulthood and are less likely to graduate from high school or to have children of their own, reports USA Today. Those who do have children are more likely to have premature or stillborn babies. "Prematurity is a very significant health problem that lasts a lifetime," warned one expert.
The study is particularly important because the rate of pre-term births in the US has risen 20% since 1990, driven in part by fertility treatments and resulting multiple births. Premature babies are less likely to survive and thrive than those born after a pregnancy of 40 weeks. The more premature a baby is, the greater the problems, according to the study in the Journal of the American Medical Association.