A recent study conducted by experts from the University of Eastern Finland and Kuopio University Hospital has found that pre-term and low birth-weight infants experience less fractures in childhood as compared to full-term and normal-weight infants. The Finnish register-based cohort study has used data from the National Medical Birth Register, the Care Register for Health Care, and Statistics Finland.
The data has been obtained from one million young children. The study has observed the data of over 100000 fracture incidents. The findings of the study show that infants born very early-term or with exceptionally low birthweight are considered to be at risk of metabolic bone disease of prematurity, as the fetal buildup of minerals happens specifically in the third trimester of pregnancy.
Early-born infants have less bone mineral density in adulthood
Other studies as well have also shown an elevated risk of fractures in childhood among infants born early. Additionally, another study from Finland showed that early-born infants have less bone mineral density in adulthood. Considering all these facts, experts have assessed whether early-born and low birthweight infants are at an elevated risk of fractures in childhood as compared to full-term and normal birthweight infants.
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They have found that early-term and low birthweight babies are at a reduced risk of fracture in childhood as compared to other infants. Infants born before the 32nd week of pregnancy are at 23 per cent lower risk of fractures than other infants. The findings suggest that infants with less than 2,500 grams or 1000 grams of birthweights as well are at a reduced risk of fractures.
Adjunct Professor Ilari Kuitunen has said that childhood fractures are described by factors other than the impact of being early-term on bones. Nevertheless, infants born early before the full term are less likely to join in sports and have less risk-taking behaviour in adulthood than children born full-term.
However, there is a need for further research on abnormal growth related to pregnancy term that is linked to fractures in early childhood. The findings of the study have been presented in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research.