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Children born later perform better at school

09/06/2016 Joanna

If a child is born in the 41st week of pregnancy, which is considered late-term, they are more likely to achieve higher academic results, new research has shown.

The study, which was headed up by Dr David Figlio from Northwestern University Evanston, Illinois, discovered that if a child is born late then they achieve higher test scores and are more likely to be considered gifted, compared to children born at 39 or 40 weeks.

"It has been well-established that late-term births are associated with higher levels of neonatal health problems. But due to data limitations, we haven't been able to look well beyond birth to see whether these problems persist, or if there are other potential benefits of late-term births," Dr Figlio said in an email to Reuters Health.

The team assessed test scores achieved by children aged between eight and 15 on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) for more than 320,000 children born early-term, nearly 720,000 born at full-term, and almost 120,000 born late-term. In addition, they took into account whether the children were classified as gifted by the Florida Department of Education.

The report, which was published in JAMA Pediatrics, showed higher standardised test scores among the children born at 41 weeks, as well as a higher percentage of those considered gifted and a lower percentage demonstrating poor cognitive outcomes.

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