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Parents of preemies as fulfilled as those with full-term babies in long run: study

WATCH ABOVE: Having a preemie or a tiny baby can be a stressful experience for parents, but a new study shows if couples can make it through the challenges they're just as likely to be happy as those with full-term babies. Laurel Gregory explains.

A nearly 30-year study on the well-being of parents offers “light at the end of the tunnel” for parents of pre-term babies, according to the study’s lead researcher.

“Our surprising finding was that there was no difference in the quality of life of those who had had pre-term babies, even though we know that they more often have disability and problems in adulthood compared to those who had healthy term-born babies,” said Dieter Wolke, a researcher with the University of Warwick.

The research team followed 446 German parents of pre-term, very low birth weight and full-term babies over 27 years. It evaluated parents’ physical and psychological health, home life and social relationships and their life satisfaction.

“If the children were happy, didn’t have mental health problems, and they had friends in childhood, good peer relationship, then the parents were also happier. It wasn’t whether they had disability and learning difficulties, they could deal with that.”

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Wolke considers the study a testament to the resilience of parents who have pre-term babies.

The study ‘Very Preterm Birth and Parents’ Quality of Life 27 Years Later,’ appears in the journal Pediatrics.

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