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Premature Birth Linked to Fewer Romantic Relationships in Adulthood

Premature Birth Linked to Fewer Romantic Relationships in AdulthoodPremature birth or low birth weight might affect a person’s romantic and sexual life as an adult, researchers say.

Previous studies have connected premature birth and low birth weight to disabilities and poorer mental health. However, scientists didn’t know how much adult relationships could be influenced.

The research team reviewed 21 medical studies from 12 countries involving 4,423,798 adults. About 4% of the study subjects had been born prematurely (before the 37th week of pregnancy) or at full term with low birth weight (under 2,500 grams or 5 pounds, 8 ounces).

They found that participants who had been premature or had low birth weight were less likely to experience “social transitions” like romantic relationships or sexual intercourse. They were also less likely to become parents.

In addition, premature birth had a “dose response” relationship with romantic relationships and parenthood. This means that the more premature a person’s birth was, the less likely they would have romantic partners or become parents.

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