Learning delays in unplanned babies

COGNITIVE development is delayed in children born after an unplanned pregnancy, UK researchers have found.

However, the finding appeared to reflect the lower socio-economic status of mothers who had unplanned pregnancies and were unhappy about it, or “mistimed” pregnancies that were unplanned but welcome.

The study of more than 18,800 children from the Millennium Cohort showed those born after unplanned and mistimed pregnancies performed poorly in verbal ability tests at three and five years of age compared to children born after a planned pregnancy.

In contrast, children conceived after assisted reproduction performed significantly better in tests of verbal ability than both children of planned and unplanned pregnancies.

“On average, these children are 3–4 months ahead,” the researchers said, noting in this case the difference did not disappear with adjustment for confounders.