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When it comes to womb time, even a week matters to child's future education

June 11, 2010 |  9:16 am

Newborn Extreme prematurity can lead to a lifetime of special education needs. But being born a few weeks early -- even a week early -- can matter too, researchers have learned.

Scottish researchers analyzed data on more than 400,000 schoolchildren, paying attention to gestational age at delivery and the children's use of special education services. In a study published this week in PLoS Medicine, they write quite bluntly:

"... deliveries should ideally wait until 40 weeks of gestation because even a baby born at 39 weeks — the normal timing for elective deliveries these days — has an increased risk of [special educational need] compared with a baby born a week later."

Read the full gestatation-and-special-education study here.

It includes a link to a March of Dimes explanation of why the last weeks of pregnancy count -- something to consider when scheduling that C-section.

-- Tami Dennis

Photo credit: Los Angeles Times