Late-Term Babies Do Better in School, says Study

If you’re hanging around waiting for your tardy babe to make his official exit from your in-utero hotel, don’t be too hasty in hurrying him along – according to a new study on late-term babies, being less than punctual can be a good thing for their one-day academic performance.

Genius baby

An article published online by JAMA Paediatrics has found that 41-weekers have better test scores in reception and primary school and are more likely to be classified as gifted when compared with children born at 39 or 40 weeks.

Researchers compared test scores of kids age 8 through 15 on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT). In the group, more than 320,000 children were born early-term, nearly 720,000 born at full-term, and almost 120,000 born late-term. They then looked at whether the children were classified as academically exceptional by the Florida Department of Education.

The results revealed that babies who only made their world debut after 41 weeks outperformed their counterparts in three key categories, with higher standardised test scores, a greater percentage classified as gifted, and a smaller percentage with poor cognitive outcomes.

Of course, the research will mean nothing for those parents who already just know their kiddos will grow up to be certified geniuses – myself included – regardless of which point on the gestational calendar B-day actually occurred.

Also, late-term offspring are not without their potential struggles; the Florida findings showed that this demographic were more likely to have physical difficulties at school-age.

“There seems to be no magic time to deliver your baby,” study co-author Dr. David N. Figlio explains. “There are tradeoffs associated with being born at 39 or 40 weeks versus being born at 41 weeks, and expectant parents should weigh the apparent cognitive benefits against the apparent physical risks when thinking about their most-preferred time to deliver.” Obviously, we don’t always get to pick our delivery date; but if you do get that option, always speak to your doc before making the decision.