During the last decades survival rates of babies with an unfavourable perinatal history like preterm birth, small for gestational age, abnormal deliveries, etc., have increased remarkably. Follow-up studies of preterm babies to school age have, however, s hown an increased risk of learning and behavioural disabilities, and concern has been raised regarding long term consequences of preterm birth, especially how these children will manage a competitive adult society. Long term studies of babies with other a spects of unfavourable perinatal history are very scanty.
Members of the study group has recently published a study of long term medical and social consequences of preterm birth in the highest ranked medical journal The New England Journal of Medicine. T he study received world wide media attention. Building on this study, the aim of the current study is to use this experience with linkage of compulsory national databases to follow a cohort of all children born in Norway from 1967-1983 up to adult life, i .e. when the participants are about 18-35 years of age to study long term outcomes of other adverse events of birth like small for gestational age, need for resuscitation at birth, abnormal delivery positions etc. Very little is known about prognosis of s uch babies. Our study will include a cascade of important outcomes including survival, medical disabilities, education, income, employment, need for social security benefits, ability to establish family, having own children and criminality.
A study of this scale with almost complete follow-up to adult life is rather unique and the results are expected to have worldwide interest. A close cooperation with the excellent reproductive epidemiology group around Dr. Allen Wilcox at National Institutes of Envi ronmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), North Carolina, USA is considered very important for a study of this scale. The project manager Dag Moster plans therefore to spend one year at NIEHS working with this project.