How do prematurely born children grow up?


Anneloes van Baar: How do prematurely born children grow up?

Professor Dr Anneloes van Baar researches prematurely born babies. Every year, that makes up 12,000 babies in the Netherlands. “The parents of a prematurely born child are worried, of course. They wonder what the future of their child will look like.”

Van Baar, a professor of Pedagogical Sciences, has been working on this subject for thirty years already. In one of her first research projects, she studied the development of prematurely born children by examining them once every six months until their fifth birthdays. When these children became ten years old, Van Baar examined their development again. She then compared their development to the development of ‘normal’ children who were born on time. “We saw that prematurely born children have more problems, such as in school.” This research formed the foundation for the new research projects we carry out now.

Combination of expertises

For this interdisciplinary research, Van Baar collaborates with neonatology professor Prof Dr Manon Benders. “A rough start has long-term consequences for babies. We want to be able to predict these consequences,” Benders explains. Van Baar adds to that: “The combination of our expertises will lead to better insights, with which we can help prematurely born children and their parents.”

Dynamics of youth

Dynamics of Youth is one of the four strategic themes of Utrecht University. Dynamics of Youth connects excellent child and youth research from all seven faculties, and looks for the answer to a crucial question for future generations: how can we help our children with their development into well-balanced individuals who can successfully hold their own in a rapidly changing environment?

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