(HealthDay News) – Children born post-term have an increased risk of problem behavior and are more likely to have clinical attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in early childhood.

Hanan El Marroun, PhD, from the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, Netherlands, and colleagues conducted a population-based cohort study involving 5,145 children to investigate the association of post-term birth with problem behavior in early childhood. Seven percent of the children were born post-term, and 4% preterm. Parents completed the Child Behavior Checklist when their children were aged 1.5 and 3 years.

The investigators found that both preterm and post-term born children had higher behavioral and emotional problem scores than term-born children. Post-term born children had an increased risk of overall problem behavior compared with term born children (odds ratio [OR], 2.10). In addition, they were significantly more likely to have attention-deficit/hyperactivity problem behavior (OR, 2.44).

“Post-term children have a considerably higher risk of clinically relevant problem behavior,” the authors write. “Further research is needed to determine the causes of post-term birth to reduce post-term birth rates and to minimize long-term consequences. Also, longer follow-up is necessary to establish whether the relationship between post-term birth and behavioral problems will persist.”

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