Late Preterm Birth and Health at the Starting Gate
Nancy E. Reichman, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
Julien O. Teitler, Columbia University
Sophie C. Moullin, Princeton University
Population-based studies of children’s health/developmental trajectories have focused on low birthweight (LBW) as the primary indicator of health at the “starting gate.” However, recent findings suggest that late preterm (LPT) infants—those born at 34–36 weeks and usually not LBW—are at risk for adverse developmental outcomes. This study uses 11 years of natality data from New Jersey to estimate effects of LPT birth on two salient measures of health at the “starting gate”—neonatal respiratory disorders and jaundice. In both across- and within-family models, we find significant and substantively important adverse effects of LPT birth on neonatal health outcomes associated with adverse developmental trajectories.