According to a new study, babies born early have a 57 percent greater risk of struggling with their hearts and lungs later in life than those who reach their due date.
The study further states that each additional week spent in the womb is associated with a 14 percent reduction in the risk of poor cardio-respiratory health.
Lead author of the study, Dr Isabel Ferreira of University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, hopes that the findings will discourage women from having an early caesarean section.
While it is already known that preterm birth is linked to a number of long term health deficits, the study is part of a growing body of research indicating that even early term births may lead to similar health issues.
The study, published by the American Heart Association looked at the heart and respiratory health of nearly 800 people in Northern Ireland, born between 37 and 38 weeks, measuring their cardio-respiratory health at ages 12, 15 and 22.
The researchers compared the physical fitness of these individuals to those born at full or late term and found that those born in early term under-performed, scoring significantly lower than those born at full or late term.
Scientists say that people with poor cardio-respiratory functioning may tire more easy and have lower physical fitness....