Thursday, October 24, 2013
New definitions have been released on what it means to carry a baby full-term.
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. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has refined that time frame to between 39 weeks and 40 weeks, 6 days.
“Things used to be very different many years ago. Moms could be induced in the 38th week if they were dilated or feeling miserable,” said Dr. Darren Tate, OB/GYN on the medical staff at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth. “Now it’s not permitted unless there is a medical indication. A lot of the studies recently have shown higher NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) admissions and worse outcomes for babies electively induced before 39 weeks.”
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.
“Every week matters,” Dr. Tate said. “Every single week is important for babies. There’s no better incubator in town than Mom’s uterus.”