What is “Full Term”?

What is “Full Term”?


A “full term” pregnancy used to mean anywhere from 37 to 42 weeks. But recently the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists divided that period into new groups (‘Full Term’ Pregnancy: Newly Defined (health.clevelandclinic.org)):


* 37-39 weeks – “Early term”

* 39-41 weeks – “Full term”

* 41-42 weeks – “Late term”

* 42 weeks or more – “Post term”


During the last weeks of pregnancy, a baby’s body is still undergoing tremendous changes. The lungs, brain, and liver are among the last organs to fully develop. During weeks 35 to 39, the baby’s brain grows by about one-third, and layers of fat develop under the baby’s skin to keep her warm after birth.


It’s not surprising, then, that every day and week spent in the womb makes a difference in how a baby fares after birth. A major importance of the new terminology is to inform women of the differences between the stages, which could make moms-to-be reconsider elective induction before week 39. Babies born in the “early term” have higher rates of respiratory, blood sugar, and infection issues than babies born at 39 weeks or later.


At Bellamins, we believe that almost all babies come when the time is right. Your baby can’t read a calendar and doesn’t know that a date has been assigned for his arrival! If it is at all possible to be patient and let nature take its course, consider letting your baby choose her own birthdate.


Bellamins Belly Blends: Prenatal Vitamins for Each Trimester