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Why Doctors Have Redefined 'Full Term' in Pregnancy

New Definition of Full Term Pregnancy

Traditionally, full term has been considered anywhere from 37 to 42 weeks of pregnancy. That’s a five-week window, and doctors say it’s just not accurate.

So they’ve created a new definition of full term pregnancy.

According to a recent Time article, a group of highly regarded OB-GYNs came together to create a new and more accurate definition of term pregnancy with the hopes of providing the best outcomes for newborns.

They based their decision on piles of research that show that “physical and mental development differ considerably depending on when babies are born within this time frame. Those five weeks are critically important for proper development, and babies born too early are at higher risk of conditions such as respiratory problems and hypoglycemia.”

According to the chair of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ (ACOG) Committee on Obstetric Practice, “We wanted there to be no confusion among providers or patients [who assume] that outcomes were uniform between 37 and 42 weeks. We are concerned that by applying a single label to them — the label of ‘term’ — some might come to that conclusion.”

The new definitions are as follows:

Early Term: Between 37 weeks 0 days and 38 weeks 6 days
Full Term: Between 39 weeks 0 days and 40 weeks 6 days
Late Term: Between 41 weeks 0 days and 41 weeks 6 days
Post Term: Between 42 weeks 0 days and beyond


Source: TIME
Photo: iStockphoto

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