Late-Term Children Are Smarter, Study Finds

Late-term children are smarter, according to a new study. A full-term pregnancy usually lasts 37 to 40 weeks. Babies born afterwards are considered late-term pregnancies. It seems that spending more time in the “oven” is beneficial to late-term children, according to recent research published in journal JAMA Pediatrics.

"Late-Term Children Are Smarter"

The new study might cause parents to reconsider if they plan not to go over the 40-week mark.

Children born late are believed to be at higher risk to develop health problems than full-term babies. However, researchers have now discovered that there are some benefits.

The study looked at score tests from the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT). These tests were given to students aged 8 to 15, born between 1994 and 2002. All kids were single births, and approximately 80 percent of them were public school students. The team of investigators’ goal was to compare cognitive and physical outcomes of children who were born full-term or late term.

 The children were placed into three groups: about 320,000 were early-term pregnancies, almost 720,000 were born full-term, and approximately 120,000 were late-term pregnancies. Data analysis took place over a period of three years, April 2013 to January 2016. The key finding was that children born at 41 weeks, which is considered late, achieved higher standardized test scores. They had a smaller percentage of poor scores on cognitive tests as well.

The new study might cause expectant parents to reconsider if they plan not to go over the 40-week mark. Researchers suggest that the findings are relevant to uncomplicated, low-risk pregnancies. Some might want to consider the apparent cognitive benefits that come with late-term pregnancies. But late-term physical health aspects are also worth looking into.

It appears that late-term children are smarter than others because their brains had more time to develop in the womb. According to doctors, one of the most important things that happen in the last weeks of pregnancy is the continued development of the baby’s brain. The brain, along with the lungs, continues to develop into the late term.

However, late-term kids didn’t score as good as their full-term counterparts when it came to physical functioning. Researchers found that late-term children had higher rates of abnormal birth conditions. In addition to respiratory diseases, they had a 2 percent greater risk to become physically disabled by the time they reached the age of 6.