BookmarkBookmarkTick

Why Premature Girls Do Better Than Boys

ByAnisa Arsenault
Associate Editor
Updated
January 30, 2017
Hero Image
Image: Getty Images

We’re not necessarily saying girls rule, boys drool, but a new study finds that preemie girls are beating boys to some important early skills.

After analyzing 2,700 preterm infants in level III NICUs born before 37 weeks of pregnancy, Loyola University Medical Center researchers pinpointed exactly when preemies can feed on their own. On average, they can orally feed by 36 weeks and four days. And girls are typically doing it a day sooner than boys. On top of that, the study found babies born vaginally are mastering independent oral feeding three days earlier than c-section babies.

Why does this skill matter? Preemies have a difficult time mastering sucking, swallowing and breathing simultaneously. But once they can do so without feeding tubes, they’re able to be discharged from the hospital (barring any other complications). The study also offered a larger takeaway: if those skills are accompanied by the ability to maintain body temperature and consistent weigh gain, a preemie can safely go home three to four weeks before his or her due date.

Related Video
danielle fishel speaks at L.A. children's hospital about the bond she has with other NICU parents

Danielle Fishel Opens Up About Bond She Has With Other NICU Parents

profile picture of Nehal Aggarwal
Nehal Aggarwal
Associate Editor
Published
03/04/2020
hand holding preemie foot in the nicu

NICU Nurse Treats Son of a Patient From 30 Years Ago in Sweet Surprise

profile picture of Nehal Aggarwal
Nehal Aggarwal
Associate Editor
Published
02/19/2020
actress danielle fishel opens up about the trauma of having her newborn in the nicu

Boy Meets World Star Danielle Fishel Gets Real About Her Mom-Guilt

profile picture of Nehal Aggarwal
Nehal Aggarwal
Associate Editor
Published
10/15/2019
couple exchanging rings at their wedding ceremony

Bride Walks Down the Aisle Holding Preemie Baby at Hospital Wedding Ceremony

profile picture of Stephanie Grassullo
Stephanie Grassullo
Associate Editor
Published
08/08/2019
actress danielle fishel karp gives birth 4 weeks early

Danielle Fishel Sums Up the Roller Coaster of Emotions When You Have a NICU Baby

profile picture of Stephanie Grassullo
Stephanie Grassullo
Associate Editor
Published
07/02/2019
illustration of fireworks over a city

World’s Smallest Surviving Baby Finally Goes Home

profile picture of Stephanie Grassullo
Stephanie Grassullo
Associate Editor
Published
05/31/2019
preemie baby in the hospital being cared for by doctor

Study: Special Form of Therapy Proven to Help Premature Babies’ Brains Develop

profile picture of Stephanie Grassullo
Stephanie Grassullo
Associate Editor
Published
05/29/2019
father touching preemie in the nicu

Revolutionary Wireless Sensors Could Allow Skin-to-Skin Contact With NICU Babies

profile picture of Stephanie Grassullo
Stephanie Grassullo
Associate Editor
Published
03/01/2019
world's smallest baby goes home

World's Smallest Surviving Baby Boy Is Sent Home After Months in the Hospital

profile picture of Stephanie Grassullo
Stephanie Grassullo
Associate Editor
Published
02/28/2019
Dad holding son playfully yelling.

Dad's Adorable Photos Capture His Preemie Son Doing 'Manly' Things

profile picture of Stephanie Grassullo
Stephanie Grassullo
Associate Editor
Published
02/06/2019
coffee beans in canister, study shows they caffeine can help preemies

Premature Babies’ Brains Benefit From Caffeine in First Few Days of Life

profile picture of Stephanie Grassullo
Stephanie Grassullo
Associate Editor
Published
12/13/2018
Article removed.