There is no question that birth at extremely low gestational ages presents a significant threat to an infant's survival, health and development. Growing evidence suggests that gestational age may be conceptualised as a continuum in which births before 28 weeks of gestation (extremely preterm: EP) represent the severe end of a spectrum of health and developmental adversity. Although comprising just 1%–2% of all births, EP deliveries pose the greatest challenge to neonatal medicine and to health, education and social services for the provision of ongoing support for survivors with additional needs. Studying the outcomes of these infants remains critical for evaluating and enhancing clinical care, planning long-term support and for advancing our understanding of the life-course consequences of immaturity at birth. Here we review literature relating to early and long-term neurodevelopmental, cognitive, behavioural and educational outcomes following EP birth focusing on key themes and considering implications for intervention.
- cognitive development
- neurodevelopmental disability
- special educational needs