What are the changes to a Term Pregnancy?

pregnant20womanIt it interesting to see that what is considered a normal Pregnancy is about to change. More specifically, the length of the pregnancy is being modified. It isn’t a huge deal…well, maybe it is. Term Pregnancy is the length of time gestation occurs.

Research has recently shown that as the unborn infant grows, week by week, the health of the child improves greatly as each week passes by. Early on, there is an increased risk of problems, infections, malformations, and growth limitations can be seen.

As each week passes, the unborn fetus, has a better chance for survival. A group of doctors are redefining what is meant by a “Full term Pregnancy.”

Previously, a pregnancy was considered “term” any time between 37 and 42 weeks. Gestation charts have covered the average organ and system development at each week.

On average, a single-fetus pregnancy lasts 40 weeks from the date of the woman’s last menstrual period until Childbirth. This average is considering the millions of children born for the last several decades.

Of course, determining the exact date of last menstrual period can be more difficult in some patients than others. But, safe to say – this has been the norm.

The New Definitions are as Follows:

Full Term:  39 – 40 weeks + the first six days after 40 weeks.

Pre Term:  Anytime before 37 weeks

Early Term:  37 – 38 weeks + the first six days after 38 weeks.

Late Term:  41 weeks + Day 0 through Day 6

Post Term:  42 weeks and beyond

A statement was given by the American College of Obstetricians along with Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine described the change in the following terms, “to improve newborn outcomes and expand efforts to prevent nonmedically indicated deliveries before 39 weeks of gestation.”

Other things that affect the child is mother’s medical conditions such as weight, Hypertension, obesity, genetics, trauma during pregnancy, smoking, drug use, exercise, nutrition, and much more.

pragnancyIn the last several years, studies have shown that a babies’ Brain and Lungs are fully mature during the last few weeks of pregnancy.

If a baby is born between 39 weeks and 40 weeks and six days, they have the best projected health outcomes.

The main point in this is to help patients and doctors understand that even after 37 weeks, full fetus system development may not be finished.

Early C-Section , elective births and such may be pushed to the 39th week.

When a significant health risk occurs – delivery is often done before the 39th week. However, this should be considered carefully and is often a person and individual choice. But elective births are strongly advised to wait as long as possible.

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