Late preterm infants (34–37 weeks' gestation) are often perceived at similar risks for morbidity and mortality as term infants.


To compare the neurodevelopmental outcomes of late preterm to term infants.


Our study sample of 6300 term and 1200 late preterm infants came from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort. We used general estimating equations to get weighted odds of having developmental delay, mental index scores (MDI) or psychomotor index scores (PDI) < 70, at 24 months of age.


Late preterm infants compared with term infants had lower MDI (85 vs 89) and PDI (88 vs 92), both P < .0001, respectively. A higher proportion of late preterm infants compared with term infants had an MDI <70 (21% vs 16%; P < .0001). An equal number had PDIs <70 (6.1% vs 6.5%). After controlling for statistically significant and clinically relevant descriptive characteristics, late preterm infants still had higher odds of mental (odds ratio: 1.52 [95% confidence interval: 1.26–1.82] P < .0001) or physical (odds ratio: 1.56 [95% confidence interval: 1.30–1.89] P < .0001) developmental delay.


Late preterm infants have poorer neurodevelopmental outcomes than term infants and have increased odds to have a mental and/or physical developmental delay.

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