Premature borns more likely to be placed outside home: Study
Washington D.C. [USA], Dec 28 (ANI): A study revealed that children born preterm are more likely to be placed outside the home as a supportive child welfare measure.
According to a population study conducted by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), children born prematurely, i.e. before week 37, are likely to be placed outside the home than their full-term counterparts.
The more premature a child is born, the greater the probability that the child will be placed outside the home.
The study does not give a direct explanation for why children born preterm and close to term are placed outside the home more likely and at a younger age than others.
"When a child is born preterm, the parents can, for example, feel that their resources, hopes and expectations do not match the challenges of early childhood caused by preterm birth. During the first year, caring for even a moderately preterm infant is substantially different than caring for a full-term child," researcher Suvi Alenius said.
The increased probability of being placed outside the home is not solely because of the factors related to prematurity but the socio-economic status of the parents, age of the parents, or the number or age difference of siblings.
Taken the account of the entire Finnish population, approximately three out of one hundred children are placed outside the home at some stage of their childhood.
The likelihood is slightly higher also for children born close to term, i.e. born at 37-38 weeks of gestation. The risk is highest during early childhood (aged 0-5 years), as this is a very straining time for family life.
"Based on this study, prematurity in itself seems to be an independent risk factor for adversity in early childhood," says Professor Eero Kajantie, who is in charge of the study.
Timely and accessible support can prevent problems in families.
Families are not necessarily aware of the available support and services, or these measures may be found shattered and difficult to access. Getting support often requires justifications and an active approach from the parents, for which many may not have the time or resources in their stressful situation.
"It would be important for the social welfare and health care services and, for example, the daycare services to better acknowledge that premature birth is a risk factor for abnormal events in early childhood. Timely and easily accessible support can avert problems from occurring in families and, for example, prevent the need for child welfare measures," says Alenius.
The study has been published in the journal Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology. (ANI)