Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

Pregnancy Pregnancy

Term pregnancy now defined as at least 39 weeks

Posted by on Oct. 22, 2013 at 9:57 PM
  • 23 Replies
1 mom liked this


Term pregnancy now defined as at least 39 weeks

3 hours ago

pregnant woman
Getty Images
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is refining the definition of a term pregnancy as between 39 weeks and 40 weeks, 6 days.

WASHINGTON -- Mom-to-be closing in on her due date? The nation's obstetricians are getting more precise about exactly how close makes for a full-term pregnancy.

On average, a pregnancy lasts 40 weeks, counting from the first day of the woman's last menstrual period. That's how a due date is estimated.

A baby is considered preterm if he or she is born before 37 weeks of pregnancy. Until now, a "term" baby was defined as one born anytime from 37 weeks to 42 weeks, a few weeks before or after the calculated due date.

Now the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is refining the definition of a term pregnancy to make clear that even at the end of the last trimester, a little more time in the womb can be better for a baby's health and development.

"Weeks matter," said Dr. Jeffrey Ecker of Massachusetts General Hospital, who chaired the ACOG committee that came up with the more specific labels. Since babies' outcomes can differ, "let's not call it all the same."

The new definitions, released Tuesday in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology:

  • Early Term, between 37 weeks and 38 weeks 6 days.
  • Full Term, between 39 weeks and 40 weeks 6 days.
  • Late Term, the 41st week.
  • Post Term, after 42 weeks.

In recent years, doctors' groups and the March of Dimes have stressed that elective deliveries — inductions and C-sections scheduled without a medical reason — shouldn't happen before the 39th week of pregnancy. Research shows that babies born at 37 weeks have more of a risk of complications, such as difficulty breathing, than those born just two weeks later.

Ecker said the new definitions will help doctors communicate that message.

The March of Dimes welcomed the change, saying it "eliminates confusion about how long an uncomplicated, healthy pregnancy should last." 

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Thoughts?

by on Oct. 22, 2013 at 9:57 PM
Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Replies (1-10):
mama91605
by Bronze Member on Oct. 22, 2013 at 10:11 PM

I have seen this popping up alot lately and i completely agree with it.


jojo_star
by on Oct. 22, 2013 at 10:58 PM

I completely and totally agree with this! I worked as a nurse in l&d for 6 years, and I saw many babies delivered by elective section between 37-40 weeks, and a lot had some issues, mostly respiratory, because they just weren't ready. Hopefully this will help with that happening. Babies come when they are ready, and it's very, very rare that they just don't come. 

Bethbeth
by Silver Member on Oct. 23, 2013 at 12:11 AM

I think it's good to force inductions and csections to wait. I don't I know about only going to 40 weeks 6 days though, seems kinda early for doctors to start evicting babies.

Devious103102
by Ruby Member on Oct. 23, 2013 at 12:18 AM

SO glad!

SimplyEnchanted
by Bronze Member on Oct. 23, 2013 at 12:22 AM

I have to admit that while I breath easier after 35 weeks I would be scared of a 37 or even a 38 weeker! I've never had a baby that early and even in the 40th week my babies haven't ever been over 7lbs 14oz (that was my largest!)

I can only imagine that my babies at 37 weeks would be a bit underdeveloped so I completely agree with this!

Raeann11
by Platinum Member on Oct. 23, 2013 at 9:31 AM

I am glad to see this.

AspensMama1537
by Member on Oct. 23, 2013 at 9:41 AM
My son was 3 days shy of 37 weeks. His lungs were not ready and he almost died. ( he coded after the cord was cut, he couldn't het enough oxygen. ) I think its a great idea to not consider them full term until later.
KelliansMom
by on Oct. 23, 2013 at 9:43 AM
I'm happy they now are finally saying this.
babyfish0511
by Bronze Member on Oct. 23, 2013 at 9:45 AM
1 mom liked this

This makes so much sense! I am glad to see it! I had DD when I was 19 and I didn't know I had options. The doc told me I needed to go ahead and be induced if I didn't have her by my EDD. I was induced at 40 weeks 1 day. My daughter was born w the flap in her throat underdeveloped. I was able to breast feed her for 2 months before she was hospitalized for aspirating on her milk. It was horrible. She had to be put on meds and I hated seeing her poked on all the time. I think if she had baked a little longer things would have been different. They come when they are ready! My Midwife told me they would not do a natural induction til 42 weeks unless it was medically necessary and that takes so much off my mind! I pray our Baby boy is born healthy! I do not want to go through that again and I refuse to ever have pitocin in my body again! We both almost died from that. If there is no medical reason to be induced I don't think it should happen. It's too risky!

rebekahmuse
by Bronze Member on Oct. 23, 2013 at 10:15 AM

 About time!

Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)