Medical groups change definition of full-term pregnancy

By WEEK Producer

Credit: MGN online

Medical groups change definition of full-term pregnancy

October 23, 2013 Updated Oct 23, 2013 at 3:27 PM CDT

The definition of a full-term pregnancy is changing.

Until recently, babies born any time between 37 weeks and 42 weeks of gestation were thought to be 'at term’ but two leading medical groups say that is no longer the case.

'Full term' is now considered to be a two week window, starting at 39 weeks and ending at 41 weeks. Researchers say that is because data shows babies born in this time frame do the best and they want to cut down on the number of scheduled c-sections and inductions before 39 weeks.

Doctors say women who go spontaneously go into labor at 37 weeks or 38 weeks should not panic. Research shows those babies tend to be healthier than those who are delivered early by choice.

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