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A threatened preterm labor (TPL) represents an adverse prenatal event that may affect fetal neurodevelopment, even in absence of prematurity. Indeed, late-preterm infants, without neurological complications, also exhibit neurodevelopment impairment with psychomotor delay as well as emotional regulation disturbances, considered early manifestations of neuropsychiatric disorders. The aim of this study is to examine the impact of TPL on infant's psychomotor development and temperament. This prospective cohort study recruited mothers who suffered from a TPL and a control group of mothers without TPL and full-term gestation (n = 61). TPL infants were classified into three groups depending on delivery time: Full-Term (n = 37), Late-Preterm (n = 66), and Very-Preterm (n = 38). Neurodevelopmental assessment was performed at 6 months using the Ages & Stages Questionnaires for psychomotor development and the Infant Behaviour Questionnaire-Revised for temperament. After controlling for potential cofounders (multiple pregnancy and in vitro fertilization), Full-Term TPL infants, relative to the control group, exhibited development delay in Communication (p = 0.044) and Personal-social domains (p = 0.005) as well as temperament disturbances with higher Negative Affect (p = 0.013), lower Positive Affect (p = 0.010), and worse Emotional Regulation (p < 0.001) compared to Control. No differences were found between Full-Term and Late-Preterm TPL infants. TPL may represent a risk factor for neurodevelopmental disturbances in the offspring, affecting both psychomotor and emotional infant competences, even when infants were born at term. © 2021. Springer-Verlag GmbH, DE part of Springer Nature.


Laura Campos-Berga, Alba Moreno-Giménez, Rosa Sahuquillo-Leal, David Hervás, Vicente Diago, Pablo Navalón, Máximo Vento, Ana García-Blanco. Emotional regulation and psychomotor development after threatening preterm labor: a prospective study. European child & adolescent psychiatry. 2022 Mar;31(3):473-481

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PMID: 33585967

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