Late-term Birth Associated with Better Long-term Cognitive Functioning

Late-term Birth Associated with Better Long-term Cognitive Functioning

Written by Craig Rogers, Posted on , in Section Essential Reads

The JAMA Network Journals report suggests that late-term infants may have better health and cognitive outcomes in childhood and into adulthood. But the physical outcomes are worse for full-term infants (increase in the rate of abnormal physical conditions). The journal suggests that there is a trade-off between good and bad outcomes. Now this news is unexpected but neat to know.

Moreover, the article does not provide doctors or parents useful guidance on how to apply or take advantage of the new findings. For example, should doctors and expectant parents induce labor, or patiently wait for nature to take it’s course? I guess the question is, do parents want better students with possible physical ailments?

"The study finds that babies born after 40 weeks might score significantly higher on test scores compared to babies born on time (39 to 40 weeks). Significantly higher test scores? I can imagine the possibility of making your kid smarter is very tempting for expecting parents, but at what cost?"

What is the downside? According to the study, babies born after 40 weeks have a chance for increased delivery and respiratory complications. Depending on how serious these physical complications might be, the course I would recommend shoot for the best possible situation for their baby. Meaning, don’t mess with nature if you don’t have to. And, what about the health of the mother?

I guess if the pregnancy is normal without complications and mom and dad might decide to induce birth sometime after 40 weeks, giving the little tot a couple extra weeks in the oven - hoping for a natural birth before deciding to induce. As long as there is no risk involved, waiting might be the best course of action. Easy for me to say. Try telling that to a woman who has carried the baby for 9 months.

Late-term birth associated with better school-based cognitive functioning

Original article can be found on by JAMA Network Journals on June 6th, 2016

Better measures of school-based cognitive function were associated with late-term infants born at 41 weeks but those children performed worse on a measure of physical functioning compared with infants born full term at 39 or 40 weeks, according to a recent article.

To read the entire article on, click here.

Piaget's Stages of Cognitive Development