That Early, Super Convenient C-Section May Be Costing Your Kid IQ Points

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c-sectionEarly elective c-sections have come under increased scrutiny, what in the wake of the midwife uptick and even Oregon hospitals putting their food down on the procedure. But among the knowledge that earlier elective c-sections don’t benefit babies or mothers, new research indicates that they also make for poorer students.

Msnbc reports that babies born around the 37-38 week mark, previously believed to be normal term, do perform differently scholastically than those babies who joined the world at 41 weeks. The disparity was noted to be small, but nevertheless evident in the study involving 128,000 kids in New York City and their standardized test scores:

On both reading and math exams, where a score of 50 was considered average, kids born at 41 weeks scored about one point higher, in general, than those born at 37 weeks, the researchers reported Monday in Pediatrics.

That’s equivalent to about a 1.5-point difference on an IQ test, [Dr. Kimberly Noble] said.

“That would not be a difference that would likely be noticeable from one child to the next,” she told Reuters Health. “Where it is more noticeable is on the lower end of the (test-score) distribution.”

Children born at 38 weeks faced only slightly lower risks than those born at 37 weeks. Compared with 41-weekers, children born at 37 weeks faced a 33 percent increased chance of having severe reading difficulty in third grade, and a 19 percent greater chance of having moderate problems in math.

The research echoes other previous findings that a few extra weeks in the womb can make all the difference for a child’s development. Also, perhaps a little tidbit worth mentioning to new mothers as they’re picking their child’s birth date from a seemingly open calendar of options.

(photo: Zametalov/ Shutterstock)