MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Marina Mendonca PhD
RECAP project (Research on European Children and Adults Born Preterm)
Department of Psychology
University of Warwick, UK
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: Previous research on the social lives of adults born preterm (under 37 weeks gestation) was inconsistent. This meta-analysis brought together data from up to 4.4m adult participants and has shown that those who were born preterm are less likely to form romantic relationships, to have had sexual relations or experience parenthood than full terms. For example, those born preterm were 28% less likely to form romantic relationships and 22% less likely to become parents, when compared to those born full term. When looking at sexual relations, preterm born adults were 2.3 times (or 57%) less likely to ever have a sexual partner.
These associations were found for both men and women, and were stronger the lower gestational age. This means that the chances of finding a romantic partner or having children were lower for those born very (<28 weeks gestation) or extremely preterm (<28 weeks gestation), with the extremely pre-term born adults being for example 3.2 times (78%) less likely to ever having had sexual relations when compared to their full term peers.
Despite having fewer relationships, we found that when adults who were born preterm had friends or a partner, the quality of these relationships was at least as good as those born full term.