Premature Birth linked to Mental Disorder

By Triveni Sharma: Babies born before the 37th week of development are considered premature. Premature newborns are sometimes referred to as “preemies.” Premature newborns face increased risk of one or more complications. As they are born before their due date, many pre-mature babies face problems throughout their lives.

There are a number of specific medical problems that can be caused by being born prematurely. These usually occur during the hospital stay, but there may be enduring illness or damage. In a new study, researchers have revealed that babies who are born prematurely have an increasing risk of suffering from mental disorders including schizophrenia, depression, psychosis and bipolar disorder.

The scientists in Britain and Sweden found that the pre-mature babies are linked to mental disorders and they are more likely to be hospitalized with mental problems and the age of 16 and above. The risk of mental disorders in premature babies is 3 times more than the full-time babies. The study states that bipolar disorder, depression and psychosis were all more likely to occur in premature babies; a concern for the AGP since there has been a significant spike in premature births.

In the survey, the researchers examined 1.3 million people from Sweden and found those born preceding to 32 weeks were 7.4 times more likely to have bipolar disorder and 2.9 times as more likely to suffer from some sort of depression.  Those born from 32 to 36 weeks were 2.7 times more likely to suffer from bipolar disorder and 1.3 times more likely to suffer from depression.

Previous research had also found that pre-term babies have a greater chance of behavioral problems at school, but this study shows that the problems could last into adulthood. The findings showed that 508 (born prematurely) out of 10,523 people were admitted to hospitals with psychiatric disorders. Statistically speaking that is 1 out of 1,000 chance of developing a mental disorder from being born prematurely.

The rise in premature births nevertheless poses a challenge to parents and to nations. The number of babies born prematurely has risen by 30 per cent in the past 25 years and they make increased demands on health and educational services.

Pre-mature babies are often treated with medication and oxygen for their condition. They are prone to number of problems, especially breathing and mental disorder because their internal organs are not completely ready to function on their own.

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