Anonymous asked in Pregnancy & ParentingPregnancy · 1 decade ago

Why dp people keep saying 37 weeks is 'full term'?

You know what a full term pregnancy is? *gasp* 40 weeks!

Seriously though, when I was pregnant with my first they said 38 weeks was full term. A few years before that, 39 weeks was considered full term.

Why do they keep changing this? And why do pregnant women continue to listen? Downing caster oil as soon as they hit 37 weeks ... "well im 37 weeks, im full term!".

Are doctors just trying to keep their patients on a tight schedule? 39 weeks is understandable, but 37? thats risking pre-mature lung development!


Waiting on baby - can you read? when i was pregnant with my first 38 weeks was considered full term .... that means ... every baby born before then was considered pre-mature.

My question ..... obviously to the hormonal, impatient ones out there ..... why are doctors changing this?

17 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Oh, yes....exactly. Everyone is in a hurry, it seems.

    Basically 37 weeks is the cut off point for when they won't worry about baby's lung development if the baby needs to be outside the womb or comes of it's own accord. It is not an excuse to start evicting babies for your own comfort!

    If it really WAS full term then why are elective inductions and caesarian sections (non-medically indicated) usually only performed at 39 weeks plus? I'll tell you why - because of IATROGENIC PREMATURITY. In other words, premature babies caused by doctors evicting them too early!! A percentage of babies will have problems breathing if they are born at 40 weeks, more have problems at 39 weeks, more still at 38 weeks, and even more at 37 weeks. Especially boys. Check this out:

    10% of babies born in this study at 37 weeks had respiratory problems!!! 10%, as opposed to JUST 2.1% at 39 weeks, this is babies born the same way (Elective CS)

    (Incidentally, for those babies born by emergency CS at the same 39-week gestation, the incidence is just 1.1% This is the benefit of letting babies come when they are ready, and shows the positive influence of labour contractions on the baby's lung prior to birth)

    If you want to put your baby at a FIVE TIMES higher risks for lung problems at birth, NICU or SCBU admission, intubation, seperation from family, breastfeeding problems and hence, lifeling respiratory problems, asthma and allergies.....just by taking that castor oil at 37 weeks instead of 39....go ahead. The majority of babies will be just fine at 37 weeks, but if you can't face being the mother of one that wasn't and knowing you're the likely cause, then don't do it.

    Also take into account accuracy of LMP and scan is possible that you can be off by up to two weeks....meaning you are playing with the life of a 35wk preemie. Some women have long cycles and gestate for longer than average just as some deliver early. For a woman that has had three babies at 41-42 weeks naturally, 37 weeks is very unlikely to have finished baking.

    Due dates are fairly arbitrary anyway. There is no magical day your baby is 'due' just like your baby's lungs are not *suddenly* mature at midnight on the day you turn 37 weeks.

    Take a look at this link and realise why it's not the best idea to rely on due dates in the first place....'s_rule

    The bottom line is.......the closer a baby is born to forty weeks , the healthier it is likely to be, provided it comes in it's own time, at it's own speed. You've been pregnant for 37 weeks, what's a couple more?

  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

    Yes, 37 weeks is considered full-term. 34-36 is considered pre-term and before 34 weeks is premature. I am 37 weeks pregnant today too. I was on bed rest and medication for 2 weeks because I had preterm contractions that were 2 minutes apart and so at the Hospital they gave me a shot to prevent preterm labor. (That's when I was 33 weeks & 6 days pregnant). At my 36 week ultrasound, I was told my baby weighs approx. 6 pounds and 12 ounces (could be off by a half a pound). So, the doc says it will be safe to have the baby now, she should be fully developed. I don't plan on having her any day now, but, if it happens, I'll be happy! I think the longer the baby is in there, the better, the healthier. Oh and speaking of the medication, the doctors shouldn't put you back on it now that you are 37 weeks. You're considered in the safe zone now. Well, good luck to you. This is my first, I'm nervous about the labor and delivery. I want a natural vaginal delivery and I hope all goes well with me and my baby girl. Congrats. We're due on the same day! YEAH! We'll be giving thanks around THANKSGIVING!

  • 5 years ago

    This Site Might Help You.


    Why dp people keep saying 37 weeks is 'full term'?

    You know what a full term pregnancy is? *gasp* 40 weeks!

    Seriously though, when I was pregnant with my first they said 38 weeks was full term. A few years before that, 39 weeks was considered full term.

    Why do they keep changing this? And why do pregnant women continue to listen? ...

    Source(s): dp people 37 weeks 39 full term 39:
  • 1 decade ago

    I believe the longer the baby is in the womb, the better the outcome. 38-40 is what I have always known as full term. I would be affraid for my baby if she were born at 37 weeks, I wouldn't think that she wasn't fully developed. All doctors do anymore these days is try to induce your labor, get the baby out, eventually have to do a c-section because all the drugs they are giving you are causing problems, and then when all is said and done they are done with you BYE BYE GO HOME! It gets on my nerves!

  • How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer.
  • I'm not sure why the doctors will change things, but I know why others listen. At that point in the pregnancy they are so sick and tired of being pregnant that if someone gives them an excuse to rush things they will.

    I was miserably overdue with both of my pregnancies, and am expecting the same this time around, no matter how miserable I was I didn't want induced. I will not and wouldn't encourage anyone to get induced unless the doctors detected a problem that would require the baby to be born before he or she is "ready".

  • shawn
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    I delivered my first child at 36 weeks, through emergency c-section .due to complications we were both having. he suffered from apnea and was in the NICU for the first 4 days of his life. I delivered my second baby at 37 weeks (my doctor did not want me to go into labor on my own) scheduled c-section, and she was very health, released from the hospital before I was.

    So was it the week difference that made my daughter more healthy?? who knows, but the longer they are in there, up to 40 weeks the healthier they are! at least that is what I have always been told! That doesn't mean that if born before then they will have problems it means they have a chance at having problems!

  • 1 decade ago

    My son was born at 37 weeks with no complications. He weighed 4LB 15 OZ.

    They induced me due to the fact that he stopped growing in-utro. They said that at 37 weeks you are considered full term and better to be safe than sorry, they had to induce me before any complications could arise. I don't know why they consider 37 weeks full term, but I trusted my doctors to do what they do best. And as I said before, he was born healthy.

  • This means that if your baby arrives now, his lungs should be fully mature and ready to adjust to life outside the womb, even though your due date is still three weeks away.

    Your baby weighs 6 1/3 pounds and measures a bit over 19 inches, head to heel (like a stalk of Swiss chard). Many babies have a full head of hair at birth, with locks from 1/2 inch to 1 1/2 inches long. But don't be surprised if your baby's hair isn't the same color as yours. Dark-haired couples are sometimes thrown for a loop when their children come out as blonds or redheads, and fair-haired couples have been surprised by Elvis look-alikes. And then, of course, some babies sport only peach fuzz.

    You have false info! The lungs are fully developed! They say that you are full term because for the remaing weeks all the baby does is gain weight!! Maybe you should go to the website and read up on it!

    Good luck n Congrats!!

    Source(s): mommy of three
  • 1 decade ago

    Doctors could be changing this for a few or many reasons. Technology has advanced. They have a better understanding of the unborn baby. At 37 weeks the lungs are completely developed. And 40 weeks is an estimate, remember you cannot pinpoint exactly when conception occured, you can guess but no one is entirely sure. At 37 weeks a baby can be born safely (depending on its growth). I will be lucky to make it to 37 weeks, I am keeping my fingers crossed for 38 weeks. If I am uncomfortable oh well, but I have two babies to worry about and there health is the most important thing to me.

    Source(s): 24 weeks 3 days pregnant with twins. Morgan Grace and Lucien Robert!!
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    That is becuase babies that are born between 37 - 40 are now considered full term and are developmentally ready to be born...the whole castor oil things is a wives tale and does not really bring on labor....babies come when they are ready...i am 37 weeks and ready but when the baby is ready it will be born....i went into premature labor twice once at 29 weeks, and the second at 31 weeks both were stopped and the baby is still dr told me that at 35 weeks they would not even try to stop the labor becuase the baby would be fine if born then

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