"born 4 weeks early" = 36 wks old or 33 wks old? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 12 Old 12-09-2004, 08:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I know a term pregnancy lasts anywhere from 37 weeks to 42 weeks. The Due Date is the standard deviation between weeks 38 and 42. A homebirth midwife in Minnesota can legally attend a birth if a woman is term, or 37 weeks.

When someone says, "oh, well, my baby was born 4 weeks early" or "so and so is a preemie 'cause she was 3 weeks early," what does this mean?

4 weeks from the due date? is that week 36, which could be counted by some as 2 weeks before the Due Date Window of 38 to 42 weeks? or just 1 week 'early' before week 37? Is 4 weeks early a tiny 33 week old gestational aged baby?

TIA!
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#2 of 12 Old 12-09-2004, 08:42 PM
 
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Sophie was born at 35 weeks. I say she came a month early. I have no idea what I should say. I just count from 40 weeks back because thats what my OB did.
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#3 of 12 Old 12-09-2004, 09:46 PM
 
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If you're in the hospital system they believe that 40 weeks is some miracle number so usually women state these things in relation to that figure. It doesn't mean much though really since edd stuff is based on a formula constructed in (I kid you not!) 1860 which had at its core the idea of the perpetual 28 day menstrual cycle. Hmmm. In France, term pregnancy is considered 41 weeks not 40 so factor in there that these things are often culturally determined - like so much of our beliefs abour pregnancy and birth My MW would attend me at home from 35 weeks gestation, not because of laws surrounding it but because there is evidence to suggest that much earlier than this babies may have breathing issues or other stuff. However it depends when you date from as well. OBs date from LMP (particularly meaningless IMO) and are therefore counting gestation from when you weren't actually pregnant LOL. MWs in Australia tend to date from conception so my MW's guesstimate was that my son would come around 6/11/03 while the OB system gave me an gdd (guesstimate due date...) of 30/10/03. I went into labour 12/11/03.

I guess it means all different things to all different women
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#4 of 12 Old 12-09-2004, 09:52 PM
 
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I would think, since most people seem to believe in the due date as if it is carved in stone, that "4 weeks early" means 4 weeks before that day. 36 weeks. There's really no other way to describe how early a baby is, I'd say, because you don't know where on that 37-to-42 week stretch the birth would have otherwise happened- so you have nowhere else to count back from than the standard 40 weeks, right?

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#5 of 12 Old 12-09-2004, 10:01 PM
 
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I'm a mama to 2 preemies. Here's what I say:

My girls were born at 32 weeks, 6 days gestation (it might be an old formula & I can't speak to that, but I know the day they were conceived). A twin pregnancy is usually considered full term after 37 weeks. So my girls were either 4 weeks or 7 weeks early, depending on how you look at it. But usually people look at the 40 week date. So I say my girls were 7 weeks premature.

If you have preemies, they usually adjust the age of the infant(s) from their 40 week due date for the first 2 years or so when looking at their development. So if a baby was born 2 months early, then on their 40 week due date, s/he's 2 months old but 0, adjusted age.

I don't think I'm being clear, so I'll stop here.
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#6 of 12 Old 12-09-2004, 10:24 PM
 
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My kids were born at 35 1/2 weeks, 35 weeks, and 34 1/2 weeks. I say they were 5 weeks early.

Michelle -mom to Katlyn 4/00 , Jake 3/02, and Seth 5/04
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#7 of 12 Old 12-10-2004, 02:43 AM
 
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there are due dates that are set before a baby is born and if a woman were to go into labor 4 weeks early it would be 36 weeks. After a baby is born there are standardized tests Dubowitz a neurological exam and the Ballard scale that has to do with physical and neuromuscular maturity, these are used to assess a baby's age some babies are small for gestational age or large for gestational age and these tests help to determine that- so usually a doctor is not just going on your due date but also what the baby dates out to be as well.
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#8 of 12 Old 12-10-2004, 11:37 AM
 
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I think most people mean 4-weeks-early = 36 weeks. But that got me thinking - that means that a baby born at 36-weeks is 4-weeks-early, but a baby born at 38-weeks is on time. Weird!

I've enjoyed reading what everyone else thinks/knows.
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#9 of 12 Old 12-10-2004, 01:26 PM
 
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I think that 36 week babies can be on time, a 38 week baby is also just that a 38 week baby on time.
The risks of a baby born at 38 weeks are the same as a 42 week baby. It is only after 42 weeks that the ill effects of post dates make morbidity +mortality higher.
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#10 of 12 Old 12-10-2004, 01:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jraohc
I think most people mean 4-weeks-early = 36 weeks. But that got me thinking - that means that a baby born at 36-weeks is 4-weeks-early, but a baby born at 38-weeks is on time. Weird!

I've enjoyed reading what everyone else thinks/knows.
exactly!

And I know a mama who has her babies right at 37 weeks (smaller woman, small babies--but they're not preemies, despite their 5 lb weights, y'know?) So I hear ya--her babies are right on time, but by another measure, they're 3 weeks early.

I like the idea of a standardized test for a kiddo once s/he's out and about--then that 4 week before due date baby could be best described as 6 week premature or a 2 week.

More thoughts?
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#11 of 12 Old 12-10-2004, 02:03 PM
 
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My son was born at exactly 37 weeks, and when it comes up I describe him as having arrived "3 weeks early," i.e., 3 weeks before his estimated due date. He didn't have prematurity or breathing issues, but he had some nursing problems that were attributed to his being on the early side.
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#12 of 12 Old 12-11-2004, 02:10 PM
 
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ITA with the PP. My daughter was born at 36 weeks, and I describe her as being 4 weeks early. She was breathing just fine, but small (5 pounds 4 oz). She still had a great deal of lanugo, had that "skinny" look that early babies have, was very sleepy had latching problems for her first couple of weeks, and was jaundiced. So, all that, in my mind, means that she probably could have stayed in just a little longer.
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