Educational outcomes following preterm birth

5. Mathematics difficulties

Of all the subjects studied at school, children born preterm are most likely to have difficulties with maths.

A study in the UK has shown that 34% of children born very preterm had difficulties learning maths in Key Stage 2, at 7 to 11 years of age, compared with just 16% of their classmates who were born at term.

Importantly, and in contrast to reading difficulties, maths difficulties are not explained by the very preterm children’s lower IQ. This suggests that there is something about maths that children born preterm find especially difficult.

Watch the animation to find out why preterm children might struggle with maths in particular.