The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine has issued a new opinion that defines the length of a full-term pregnancy.
The definition, which defines a full-term pregnancy as 39 and 40 completed weeks of pregnancy. Early term is 37 and 38 weeks of pregnancy and preterm remains at less than 37 completed weeks of pregnancy.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ and the Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine’s definition of a full-term pregnancy as 39 and 40 completed weeks of gestation is a welcome guideline that eliminates confusion about how long an uncomplicated, healthy pregnancy should last. This new definition acknowledges that the risk of adverse health consequences for babies changes at each stage of pregnancy. Babies born at 39 to 40 completed weeks of pregnancy have the best chance of a healthy start in life (credit cox). The March of Dimes calls on all health care professionals and hospitals to embrace and apply the definition of full-term pregnancy and move as quickly as possible to implement it in practices and policies.