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Providence Health & Services
Swedish Health System | Seattle, WA
Kadlec Regional Medical Center | Richland, WA

Pregnant? “Full Term” has a new definition

The definition of 'full term' pregnancy has been updated. Learn the new definitions for 'early term' and 'full term' and 'late term' pregnancy.The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine have collaborated to redefine the terms of pregnancy. This new definition is part of the Know Your Terms Initiative developed by the National Child and Maternal Health Education Program. This initiative provides continuing medical education to doctors, midwives and other providers of prenatal care about the new gestational age designations and how to implement the best medical practices in accordance with these new terms.

What are the new terms?

The new definition under the Know Your Terms Initiative allows for a more precise understanding of the gestational period. Here are the updated terms of pregnancy:

  • Babies born during weeks 37 and 38 are now considered early term
  • Babies born during weeks 39 and 40 are considered full term
  • Babies born in week 41 are called late term

These new terms are important to ensure the best, most healthy outcome for both mom and baby. If you have any questions, talk to your obstetrician or midwife about this new definition and how it applies to you and your baby.

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