Maternal employment and socio-economic status of families raising children born very preterm with motor or cognitive impairments: the EPIPAGE cohort study

Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology. 2020 Jun 18. doi: 10.1111/dmcn.14587.



To describe maternal employment and the socio‐economic status of the household up to 8 years after the very preterm birth of a child, according to the presence and type of motor or cognitive impairment.


A total of 1885 families from the French EPIPAGE cohort of children who were born very preterm between 1997 and 1998 were included. Motor and cognitive impairments were identified in children between the ages of 2 and 8 years in 770 families and were classified according to type. The 1115 families with children born very preterm without these impairments were considered the reference group.


Mothers of children with severe motor or cognitive impairments were less often working at 5 years after the birth than the reference mothers (21% and 30% vs 57%; p <0.001). Those working before birth returned to work less often and those not working started to work less often after the birth than did reference mothers. At 8 years, mothers of children with severe impairments reported financial difficulties more often than mothers of children without impairments.


Despite a fairly protective regulatory framework in France, families of infants born very preterm with severe motor or cognitive impairments are socially underprivileged. Measures to maintain an acceptable standard of living for these families and their children are needed.