Length of Pregnancy Term Changes - KFBB.com News, Sports and Weather

Length of Full-Term Pregnancy Term Changes

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Until recently, babies born any time between 37 to 42 weeks of gestation were thought to be at term. But two leading medical groups say that's no longer the case.     

Researchers say full-term now starts at 39 weeks and ends at 41, and that it's better for babies if they're born in that two-week window.   Babies have a lower chance of being admitted into the NICU Center, and moms have a lower chance of having a c-section.  But Billings Clinic has been following these guidelines since 2005.

Dr. Linda Waring with the Billings Clinic says, "It's just safer.  It's better for the community as a whole, when you do the right thing, when you don't put babies at risk because you're forcing labor before they're ready."

Doctors say women who go spontaneously into labor at 37 or 38 weeks shouldn't panic. Research shows those babies tend to be healthier than those who are delivered early by choice.

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