Thursday, January 9, 2014

Does Early Preterm Crying Mean Behavioral Issues Up the Road?

Photo by Bonoz via Pixabay
Pediatrics and other journals have published a myriad of articles on preterm infants and the complications with which they may present. Yet we have not seen much on the preterm infant who cries “excessively” according to parents and whether that higher amount of crying is a harbinger of behavioral problems as the child gets older.

Korja et al. (doi: 10.1542/peds.2013-1204) decided to investigate this interesting issue by tracking 202 infants who weighed less than 1500 grams at birth using a parental diary to note preterm infant crying behavior at term, 6 weeks, and 5 months of corrected age. The duration and frequency of crying was then compared to the child’s behavior using the Child Behavioral Check List tool at ages 3 and 4 years, and the Parental Stress Index tool at ages 2 and 4 years.

You may shed a tear when you see the results—or at least opt to ask parents of preterms about their infants’ crying behaviors as they move through infancy so that appropriate behavioral guidance or reduction of parenting stress can be suggested so as to abate the behavioral issues that are more likely to occur based on this interesting association.

Have you seen a similar association in your own preterm patients as they move into toddlerhood, or have you not thought to review the crying history relative to the behavioral history? Read this study and you will be more likely to want to associate the two than ever before.

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