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When did 37 weeks become the new 40 weeks?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
When did 37 weeks become the new 40 weeks?I'm a little slow, but it occurs to me that people are considering 37 weeks as full term?What happened to 40-42?
post #2 of 21
I know what you mean. I mean even when I had my first child, 38 weeks was the low end of full term (40 + or - 2 weeks), and 37 was good enough if there were serious things going on, but the idea that 37 would start being full term and anything after it is late seems to be taking hold in some circles.
post #3 of 21
Even when I was pregnant with DD in 2005, everything I read and everyone I talked to said anywhere from 37-42 weeks was considered full-term. (I think because people may not be 100% sure when they conceived, so that would give them a little leeway?) I'm not sure, but that's what everyone has told me... *shrug*
post #4 of 21
I know 37 weeks is considered full-term for twins (can you tell I'm carrying twins?) but other than that, all my paperwork still goes by the calendar 40 week due date.
post #5 of 21
Full term I was told is any where between 37 and 42. 40 is considered when you are actually due. Thats when they start monitoring you closer.
post #6 of 21
People are just referring to medical terms b/c medically 37 weeks is full term. EDD normally ranges from 38-42 weeks, but I think you know that already.
post #7 of 21
yes, in general circles people people are taking "full term" as to meaning it's go time at any moment...which is true to an extent. I get worried when women are ready to evict or induce the moment they hit 37 weeks thinking "well, baby is ready now so why not?" when there is so much more to it....sure baby *might* be "ready" (good weight, breathe on it's own) but it doesn't mean it is completely mature yet, OR that your BODY is ready at 37 weeks. That's the kicker no one puts together...Your body will put together baby and get baby "ready", but you rbody won't make YOU ready until baby is done....just because baby is "medically" considered full term doesn't mean baby really IS full term, or that your body has had it's own TIME to become "full term" in it's own right for birth.

I wish they would make better cut and dry connections with these two. inductions this early is plain scary anyway (and some docs will induce as early as 38 weeks) ...especially as it sets an unready body up for a long process of labor, or worse, surgery.

now when babies come on thier own time and it just so happens to be at 37 weeks...that's completely different. obviously both baby AND body were ready.

*steps off soapbox and stops the rant*
post #8 of 21
:

I think for most MDCers, it's just that we know the baby *could* come at any time after 37 weeks or so, not that it's late if it doesn't come then. I like the concept of a "due month," which is from around 38-42 weeks.

But yeah, I have noticed a trend towards impatience even before reaching 40 weeks. A friend of mine had her first at 36 weeks (her water broke and she went into labor, her baby was fine, no NICU). So for her second, at 37 weeks she was like "where is she??" And then at 39 weeks she was asking for an induction. I tried to warn her about the increased risk of c-section, but she didn't care. Everything turned out OK, thankfully. I think SO many women are induced before or at 40 weeks these days at a doctor's urging, that women start seeing it as normal and problem-free. What problem could there be with it if so many doctors do it for so many reasons? :

edit: This is not to disparage any mamas who are getting inductions for various medical reasons. Inductions (and c-sections) definitely have their place, and save lives! I'm taking more about the, "Hey, that baby's getting pretty big, and you're so uncomfortable- how'd you like to meet him today? Let's get you set up with some pit!" kind of induction.
post #9 of 21
I'm amazed at how many people (not on MDC) try to evict their babies after 37 weeks. I had a mw appointment last week with one of the mws in the practice who is a bit of a MEDwife. She suggested that I get my membranes stripped next week because "I wouldn't want to go post dates." I told her that I was only 38.5 weeks and most first babes go over 41 weeks, and that until I hit 41 weeks, I'm not concerned. I'll admit, I would like to no longer be pregnant, but when to be born is choice left up to the baby not to me.

I don't remember where, it may have been here, but I read that due to inductions, the average length of gestation for the first baby in the U.S. is now 39 weeks. Does this mean in ten years that 35 weeks will be full term and women will be asking for inductions?
post #10 of 21
Nautical- well said.

I'm surprised how many midwives routinely do inductions for no particular reason other than that the client is at 38-39 weeks. Castor oil, stripping membranes, cohosh tinctures, even breaking the water...even if there's no pitocin involved, it's still an induction method. And a lot of people aren't aware of the risk of rupturing the bag of waters when you strip the membranes, which puts you "on the clock" and also at risk for complications.

One of the big eye-opening things for me over the past few years as a doula has been the idea that having a midwife doesn't guarantee you a natural-style management of your pregnancy and birth.
post #11 of 21
I know what you mean KindRed. After 37 I was cleared for my homebirth, because that is considered "full term". But my MWs aren't pressuring me at all! They know that the baby will come when he/she is ready. I can't believe some midwives would do that!

Of course a friend of a friend ended up being induced at 41 weeks to the day because "her doctor felt it too dangerous to wait any longer". This was her first baby, they induced, and she ended up with a c/s. And how big was her "late" baby? 6lbs.

My body, my baby, my birth. Whenever it decides to happen. I know I've expressed a lot of impatience, but I wouldn't even consider any induction methods (aside from DTD ) "natural" or otherwise.
post #12 of 21
Having had some pretty strong contractions/braxton hicks for the past two weeks, It's nice to breath a sigh of relief to hit 37 weeks. I don't mind going to 40 weeks, I did with the other two, but now I know I don't have to transfer to the hospital if I go into labor. Hence the siggy. I just feel better, even though it is just a number, to know that the percentage of being AOK has just went up.
post #13 of 21
Yeah for me and my midwives I had separate "rules" for pre-37 weeks and after 37 weeks if I was noticing signs of labor. I haven't seen people inducing at 37 weeks, but I have noticed more and more around 39 weeks for various reasons.
post #14 of 21
I'm 40 weeks on Monday and will admit I've been quietly (and not so quietly) hoping to go into labor ASAP since about 37 weeks. I would never even consider induction before 42 weeks, though. That seems crazy to me unless done for medical reasons.
post #15 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by PookieMom View Post
Having had some pretty strong contractions/braxton hicks for the past two weeks, It's nice to breath a sigh of relief to hit 37 weeks. I don't mind going to 40 weeks, I did with the other two, but now I know I don't have to transfer to the hospital if I go into labor. Hence the siggy. I just feel better, even though it is just a number, to know that the percentage of being AOK has just went up.
I'm looking forward to 37 weeks (next Tuesday!) for that reason too. My midwife didn't tell me an exact cut-off point, but I know that after 37 weeks we shoudl be OK for home birth.
post #16 of 21
I think all homebirth moms look forward to 37 weeks because they are "in the clear" for their plans. I think the issue is that people have started to become extremely impatient the very minute they hit 37 weeks. I know it's largely influence by our impatient instant-everything culture. And I know by 37 weeks we're all pretty much getting tired of pregnancy. But it makes every day seem longer when you get impatient that early. Because the "average" is still supposed to be around 40 weeks... so not everyone can have an early baby!

My baby will come when he/she is ready to come. I look forward to it. I did have an induction with my DD and I am like GIDDY to have labor come on by itself this time... even if it means I have to wait longer!
post #17 of 21
Yeah its scary. My first 2 were born at 41wks, but #3 came by necessary c/s at just shy of 37wks. We had a week long NICU stay for breathing problems. I know for me my babies need a little extra time, even when I have the dates right.
post #18 of 21
I don't know why anyone would *want* to be induced. I was induced at 35 weeks 3 days (when they started the cervidol). I'm *so* glad that DD didn't have any problems. I can't imagine wanting/trying to have baby come when *I* schedule it... I'm going to wait until LO is ready, especially since there is no *good* way for anyone *besides* baby to know when baby is ready. (I think if I get to 42 weeks with absolutely no signs of LO being ready, I'll start to consider, but until it gets to where he *has* to be born, I won't.)
post #19 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Katielady View Post
Nautical- well said.

I'm surprised how many midwives routinely do inductions for no particular reason other than that the client is at 38-39 weeks. Castor oil, stripping membranes, cohosh tinctures, even breaking the water...even if there's no pitocin involved, it's still an induction method. And a lot of people aren't aware of the risk of rupturing the bag of waters when you strip the membranes, which puts you "on the clock" and also at risk for complications.

One of the big eye-opening things for me over the past few years as a doula has been the idea that having a midwife doesn't guarantee you a natural-style management of your pregnancy and birth.
i'm certainly hoping for next weekend, schedule wise (38 now). but i was also born 2 weeks late so i'm prepared for a karmic kickback.
i'm a little horrified that a mw would even be offering such a thing. 40 weeks, maybe some evening primrose or castor oil. otherwise, tough. and what happened to trying sex first?
post #20 of 21
I desperately wanted to make it as far as I did with Adrian (36w) and be able to have my homebirth - I know a few moms who had a 36 weeker the first time and each subsequent baby has come earlier, so that was my big fear. I am so glad that Jasper stayed in for another 2 weeks, though. Adrian had no real problems--jaundice & super sleepy--but Jasper is a great nurser and so alert, and already back to birth weight at 6 days old (Adrian was still an ounce under at 18 days old).

My midwives would never suggest induction before 40-41 weeks, and only if sure of dates. They are required by law to transfer care at 42 weeks, but if necessary, obviously the least invasive natural methods would be exhausted first. My OB, OTOH, was ready to start talking induction 'if nothing has happened in the next 10 days" and that was at my 36w appt, less than 48 hrs before Adrian arrived. Totally ridiculous.
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