Adjusted results showed that the risk of epilepsy was significantly increased both for early-term (odds ratio [OR], 1.19; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.11-1.29; P < .0001), and for late-term infants (OR, 1.13; 95% CI, 1.06-1.22; P = .0004). Early-term and late-term infants also had a significantly increased risk of being eligible for disability payments (OR, 1.20; 95% CI, 1.16-1.24; P < .0001; and OR, 1.05; 95% CI, 1.01-1.08; P = .0053, respectively).
However, while the risk of child death was increased by 42% in early-term infants (OR, 1.42; 95% CI, 1.30-1.55; P < .0001), results were not significant for late-term infants (OR, 1.08; 95% CI, 0.99-1.18; P = .093).
Results also suggested a U-shaped curve. The lowest risk of epilepsy appeared to be at term, while risk increased in both directions further away from term.
In early- and late-term infants, there was no link between epilepsy and low birth weight (P = .5083), multiple birth (P = .7208), maternal age (P = .7986), cesarean section (P = .6744), or preeclampsia (P = .3096).
The authors mentioned several limitations. Notably, because the study used administrative data, the underlying causes for increased risk of epilepsy among early- and late-term infants cannot be determined.
• Swedish researchers found that infants born at early or late term may be at increased risk for epilepsy and disability
• Early-term infants but not late-term infants were at increased risk for death before age 5
• Results add to evidence that may be used to guide treatment decisions about monitoring and induction of labor
1. Odd D, Glover Williams A, Winter C, et al. Associations between early term and late/post term infants and development of epilepsy: a cohort study. PLoS One. 2018;13:e0210181. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0210181. eCollection 2018.