Washington: Babies born preterm have been found to be 28 per cent less likely to be in a romantic relationship, according to a new study.
Those born pre-term (under 37 weeks gestation) have fewer chances of having a romantic relationship, a sexual partner and becoming a parent than those born full-term, found a recent study.
Researchers came to the conclusion after meta-analysis by researchers from the Department of Psychology with data from up to 4.4 million adult participants. The study published in the journal of JAMA Network Open.
They have 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 those born preterm were 28 per cent less likely to form romantic relationships and 22 per cent less likely to become parents when compared to those born full-term.
Those 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.
Those adults who were born very (less than 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 were 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also show that forming those relationships is harder for pre-term born adults, as they are usually timid, socially withdrawn and low in risk-taking and fun-seeking.
Despite having fewer close relationships, this meta-analysis also revealed that when preterm born adults had friends or a partner, the quality of these relationships was at least as good in preterms compared to full-term born adults.
"The finding that adults who were born pre-term are less likely to have a partner, to have sex and become parents does not appear to be explained by a higher rate of disability. Rather preterm born children have been previously found to have poorer social interactions in childhood that make it harder for them to master social transitions such as finding a partner, which in turn is proven to boost your wellbeing," said the first author of the paper, Dr Marina Goulart de Mendonca.
"Those caring for preterm 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 preterm children tend to be more timid and shy, supporting them making friends and be integrated into their peer group will help them to find romantic partners, have sexual relationships and to become parents. All of which enhances well-being," the senior author, Professor Dieter Wolke added.