Late Preterm Infants and Neurodevelopmental Outcomes: Why Do I Need to Serve and Return?

  • Aliyah DosaniEmail author
  • Dianne Creighton
  • Abhay K. Lodha


Late preterm infants (LPIs) are the largest group of preterm infants. LPIs have higher rates of morbidity in terms of neurodevelopmental (ND) outcomes than infants born at term. This may be due to changes in brain growth and development because of being born a few weeks early. LPIs are more at risk for developing Kernicterus that can occur in the early postpartum period. Kernicterus may result if jaundice (hyperbilirubinemia) is not treated early. Jaundice could have long-term effects on the brain including cerebral palsy and damage to the ear causing difficulty with hearing. At 24 months of age, LPIs have higher chances of experiencing delays in brain and psychomotor development. In addition, language, speech, and executive functions (mental control and self-regulation) of LPIs are less developed by 36 months. These infants also are at risk for poor educational achievement, including lower scores in Math and English. Early intervention is required at various points during postpartum, infancy, and the early childhood years. Serve and return activities with caregivers are critical to brain development. Follow-up clinics with access to a variety of health care professionals are necessary to provide specific interventions to limit the potential ND impairment (NDI) of LPIs.


Late preterm infants Brain development Neurodevelopmental outcomes Serve and return 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aliyah Dosani
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Dianne Creighton
    • 3
    • 4
  • Abhay K. Lodha
    • 4
    • 5
    • 6
  1. 1.School of Nursing and MidwiferyMount Royal UniversityCalgaryCanada
  2. 2.Department of Community Health Sciences, Cumming School of MedicineUniversity of CalgaryCalgaryCanada
  3. 3.Neonatal Follow-Up ClinicAlberta Children’s HospitalCalgaryCanada
  4. 4.Department of Paediatrics, Cumming School of MedicineUniversity of CalgaryCalgaryCanada
  5. 5.Department of Community Health Sciences, Cumming School of MedicineUniversity of CalgaryCalgaryCanada
  6. 6.Department of Paeditrics, Foothills Medical Center C211Alberta Health ServicesCalgaryCanada

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