Docs get more precise about full-term pregnancy - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

Docs get more precise about full-term pregnancy

Posted: Updated:

WASHINGTON (AP) - 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."

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • More From wfmj.comMore>>

  • Police: Couple used dog to lure 2 Amish girls

    Police: Couple used dog to lure 2 Amish girls

    Thursday, August 21 2014 10:04 PM EDT2014-08-22 02:04:19 GMT
    A woman accused along with her boyfriend of abducting and sexually abusing two young Amish sisters is due in court for a preliminary hearing.More >>
    A northern New York couple used a dog to lure two Amish sisters from their family farm stand with a plan to turn them into slaves, an investigator said Thursday.More >>
  • State won't sell naming rights for Ohio Turnpike

    State won't sell naming rights for Ohio Turnpike

    Thursday, August 21 2014 9:30 PM EDT2014-08-22 01:30:13 GMT
    Ohio will pursue opportunities to collect revenue through sponsorships along the state turnpike but will not sell naming rights for the 241-mile toll road.More >>
    Ohio will pursue opportunities to collect revenue through sponsorships along the state turnpike but will not sell naming rights for the 241-mile toll road.
    More >>
  • Ohio State president meets with band leaders

    Ohio State president meets with band leaders

    Thursday, August 21 2014 9:23 PM EDT2014-08-22 01:23:42 GMT
    Courtesy:  NBC NewsCourtesy: NBC News
    Student and staff leaders of the Ohio State marching band have met with the university's president to share concerns over the firing of a popular band directorMore >>
    Student and staff leaders of the Ohio State marching band have met with the university's president to share concerns over the firing of a popular band directorMore >>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and WFMJ. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms