Preterm babies are less likely to form romantic relationships in adulthood

Posted on September 25, 2019

Meta-analysis conducted by researchers found that adults who were born pre-term are less likely to form romantic relationships than full-term peers. In the analysis, 4.4 million adult participants born pre-term were 28% less likely to form romantic relationships and 22% more likely to become parents, when compared to those born full term.

Studies that looked at sexual relations of pre-term children found that they were 2-3 times less likely to ever have a sexual partner when compared to full terms. Adults born very (<32 weeks gestation) or extremely preterm (<28 weeks gestation) had even lower chances of experiencing sexual relationships, finding a romantic partner or having children at the same age as those born full term, with the extremely pre-term born adults being 3.2 times less likely to ever having sexual relations.

Close and intimate relationships have been shown to increase happiness and well-being both physically and mentally. However, studies also show that forming those relationships is harder for pre-term born adults, as they are usually timid, socially withdrawn and low in risk-taking and fun seeking. However, when these pre-terms born adults have friends or partner, the quality of these relationships was at least as good in pre-terms compared to full-term born adults.

This study helps that for those caring for pre-term children including parent’s health professionals and teachers should be more aware of the important role of social development and social integration for pre-term children. As pre-term children tend to be more timid and shy, supporting them making friends and be integrated in their peer group will help them find romantic partners, have sexual relationships and become better parents – enhancing their well-being.


Category(s):Child Development

Source material from Science Daily


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