Association of Preterm Birth and Low Birth Weight With Romantic Partnership, Sexual Intercourse, and Parenthood in Adulthood: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

Question Are adults who were born preterm or with low birth weight less likely to experience social transitions normative of adulthood, such as romantic partnerships, sexual intercourse, or parenthood?
Findings In this systematic review and meta-analysis of 21 studies describing up to 4.4 million participants, adults who were born preterm or with low birth weight were less likely to experience a romantic partnership, sexual intercourse, or parenthood than their peers who were born full-term. The likelihood of experiencing these social transitions decreased with lower gestational age and birth weight, and was similar in both young and middle adulthood.
Meaning The findings suggest that adults who were born preterm or with low birth weight are less likely to have sexual or partner relationships than adults born full-term, which might put them at increased risk of decreased well-being and poorer physical and mental health.