Aim To compare development in its specific areas (posture, oculo-manual coordination, language and socialisation) of very preterm children at 2 years corrected age with those of the general population; to identify factors associated with performances in each area.
Population and Methods 347 children born up to 33 weeks gestation in 1997 in the Nord – Pas de Calais area (France), part of the EPIPAGE cohort study, free of cerebral palsy or sensory impairment, were assessed by a Brunet-Lezine test at 2 years corrected age. Their results for each separate developmental quotient (DQ) were compared to those of the calibration sample of the test. Factors associated with each DQ were identified using multivariate linear regression.
Results Children studied had a mean gestational age of 30.1±2.0 weeks, and a mean birth weight of 1390±403 g.
33 children (9.5 %) had a non-homogeneous profile, with a language DQ specifically low for 20.
Coordination DQ increased with highest parental occupation and breastfeeding at discharge. Language and socialisation DQ increased with gestational age, female gender, highest parental educational level occupation. Language DQ also decreased with the number of days of intubation.
Conclusion Most mature very preterm children, considered as “normal” at 2 years corrected age, had impaired performances in coordination, language and socialisation. Environmental factors play an important role in those performances.