When is your baby “full term”? This is what is addressed in this recent TIME article.
Once upon a time in most cases your baby was born when it was good and ready. But more and more births are being medically induced for non-medical reasons such as a “big baby”, guaranteeing that you deliver with your Doctor and just plain convenience. It was thought that babies born any where between 37-41 weeks would have the same healthy outcomes, but research has shown that those last few weeks really do make a difference. The new guidelines are as follows:
Early Term: Between 37 weeks 0 days and 38 weeks 6 days
Full Term: Between 39 weeks 0 days and 40 weeks 6 days
Late Term: Between 41 weeks 0 days and 41 weeks 6 days
Postterm: Between 42 weeks 0 days and beyond
These guidelines were recently redefined by ACOG and are certainly a step in the right direction. There are, of course, times when medical induction is best for baby. But I tell my students to send up the red flag when Doctors start talking about “how big the baby is” especially before 40 weeks.