3 Mar 2012

Infant health problems forecast

6:52 am on 3 March 2012

Research published in the British Medical Journal suggests that babies born even slightly prematurely have a greater risk of health problems in infancy than those born at the optimum 39 weeks.

Researchers studied a group of 14,000 children born in Britain 10 years ago.

Pregnancies are considered full term from the 37th week.

The researchers say babies formed before 39 weeks had a slightly higher risk of developing illnesses such as asthma.

However, the BBC reports the authors stress that parents should not worry about what is a modest chance of extra illness.

They say their work should be used to question the level of healthcare support and monitoring given to these families.