By Dr. Marciene Mattleman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Children born at 37-38 weeks rather than at full-term 40-41 weeks, have lower academic achievement, according to the journal Pediatrics.

While it’s been known for many years that children born before full term are at risk of developmental delays, little was known about the differences.

Researchers at Columbia University Medical Center and New York-Presbyterian Hospital looked at achievement of 128,000 3rd grade students in New York born between 37 and 41 weeks from 1988-1992. Standardized test data in reading and math showed that the scores in both subjects were higher the later babies were born. It was found that children born at 37 and 38 weeks had “a significantly increased relative risk of impaired reading and math skills.”

Since the brain continues to develop and grow rapidly during the last weeks of pregnancy, it’s important to know the consequences associated with children who are not born full term.

Read more in The Wall Street Journal, July 8, 2012.

Watch & Listen LIVE