In a November 2013 Committee Opinion, ACOG and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine have recommended the use of “full term” to designate pregnancies between 39 0/7 weeks and 40 6/7 weeks gestation. This recommendation came from a work group convened to address the variance in neonatal outcomes resulting from pregnancies considered by the old label “term” which referred to the period of three weeks before to two weeks after the indicated date of delivery. Because of the old definition, practitioners and the public thought it was as safe to deliver at 37 weeks as at 40 weeks. Contrary to these past expectations, new research has shown that the frequency of adverse neonatal outcomes is lowest during this new defined interval of “full term.” With ACOG’s new definition of “full term,” children’s medical and advocacy groups hope that practitioners and the public will become more aware of the risks involved in having non-medically indicated inductions and C-sections before the 39th week of gestation. To read the ACOG Committee Opinion, click here.
Written By: Heidi K. Curran, MBA