In hopes of reducing elective inductions, increase spontaneous labor, and set better expectations for pregnant women, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have redefined and relabeled the ending weeks of pregnancy. At 37 weeks women are no longer considered "full term." Find the new term categories here.
In the past, the period from 3 weeks before until 2 weeks after the estimated date of delivery was considered “term,” with the expectation that neonatal outcomes from deliveries in this interval were uniform and good. Increasingly, however, research has shown that neonatal outcomes, especially respiratory morbidity, vary depending on the timing of delivery within this 5-week gestational age range. To address this lack of uniformity, a work group was convened in late 2012, which recommended that the label “term” be replaced with the designations early term (37 0/7 weeks of gestation through 38 6/7 weeks of gestation), full term (39 0/7 weeks of gestation through 40 6/7 weeks of gestation), late term (41 0/7 weeks of gestation through 41 6/7 weeks of gestation), and postterm (42 0/7 weeks of gestation and beyond) to more accurately describe deliveries occurring at or beyond 37 0/7 weeks of gestation. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine endorse and encourage the uniform use of the work group’s recommended new gestational age designations by all clinicians, researchers, and public health officials to facilitate data reporting, delivery of quality health care, and clinical research.
As we all know healthy babies are born on both sides of the due date bell curve - 37 weeks and 43 weeks - and it really doesn't matter what label of "term" these weeks are given. However, I do believe that this redefinition will help mother's prepare to reach and go past their due date without feeling like their pregnancies should be "over" and ask for an induction, and/or her providers will be less likely to oblige.
What do you think about ACOG's decision to redefine 'term' pregnancy?