Neurobehaviour and neurological development in the first month after birth for infants born between 32-42 weeks' gestation

Alicia J. Spittle, Jennifer Walsh, Joy E. Olsen, Emma McInnes, Abbey L. Eeles, Nisha C. Brown, Peter J. Anderson, Lex W. Doyle, Jeanie L Y Cheong

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39 Citations (Scopus)


Aims: The objective of this study was to generate reference values for infants born moderate preterm (MPT), late preterm (LPT) and full term (FT) for three newborn neurobehavioural/neurological examinations in the first weeks after birth. Study design: Prospective cohort study to examine the expected range of values for MPT (born 32+0 to 33+6), LPT (34+0 to 36+6) and FT (born 37 to 42 weeks' gestation) infants' performance on the Hammersmith Neonatal Neurological Examination (HNNE), the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Network Neurobehavioural Scale (NNNS) and Prechtl's General Movements Assessment (GMA) in the first weeks after birth. Further, to determine the effects of sex, gestational age at birth, and postmenstrual age at assessment on the 3 different assessments within the gestational age groups. Subjects: 80 MPT, 129 LPT and 201 FT infants were recruited shortly after birth from a tertiary hospital. Results: The means, standard deviations and 5th, 10th, 25th, 50th, 75th, 90th and 95th centiles are presented for the HNNE and NNNS for each of the three gestational age groups. Overall, FT infants performed better than MPT and LPT infants. The rate of normal GMA within the first few weeks after birth was 25% for MPT, 32% for LPT, and 90% for FT infants. The effects of sex, gestational age at birth, and postmenstrual age at assessment varied between test and gestational age groups. Conclusions: This study provides normative data for the HNNE, NNNS, and GMA administered within the first weeks after birth in a sample of MPT, LPT and healthy FT infants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-14
Number of pages8
JournalEarly Human Development
Publication statusPublished - May 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Neurobehavioural assessment
  • Neurological examination
  • Newborn infant
  • Preterm infant

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