Calling all Expecting Moms: Did You Know? Important News about Full Term Delivery

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This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of the National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Pregnancy can be one of the most exciting – and frightening – times in your life. Especially for new Moms who don’t know what to expect, or one that might not keep up to date on all the new profound research that’s been discovered recently. There’s a lot of decisions for expectant Moms to make. One important decision that we can all agree on, is when possible, to carry the baby to full term. But did you know that time line has recently changed??


The NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development has researched and shown that babies born before 39 weeks are at risk for some major health problems –such as blood infections and learning disabilities.They also are more likely to spend their first days in neonatal ICU and have problems with feeding, controlling their temperature, and even breathing.

In the past a baby would be considered term between 37 and 42 weeks; now 39 and 40 weeks are considered full term. Babies born in weeks 37 – 38 are considered early term, and babies born in week 41 – 42 are late term.



By waiting to deliver until at least 39 weeks in a healthy pregnancy, you will give your baby the time they need to grow. The lungs, liver and brain go through a crucial growth period between the 37 – 39 weeks of pregnancy.

When I was pregnant with my first child I was induced several weeks early. I had a very healthy pregnancy, but was having a hard time with swelling (my feet somewhat resembled an elephants foot, if that gives you an idea of the pain I was dealing with). Though my daughter was born without any issues right away – we noticed she was having difficulties with breathing, and getting constant ear infections. At 5 years old my daughter was wheeled back into the OR for surgery. The pain of watching her go through all these development issues far outweighed the pain I felt with my swelling during pregnancy. If I had known, or been made aware of the increased health risk that delivering early could have caused my baby, I would have endured the swelling and pain for a few more weeks.


Though sometimes there is a health risk to the mother or baby and planned deliveries before 39 weeks are necessary, waiting until full term at 39 weeks is in the best interest of your baby.


Be sure to make yourself familiar with the new terms so you and your health care provider can talk about what is best for the health of you and your baby.


This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of the National Institutes of Health.

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20 Responses to Calling all Expecting Moms: Did You Know? Important News about Full Term Delivery

  1. Robin Rue (@massholemommy) says:

    I guess both of my boys were early then. I am just glad they’e ok 🙂

  2. Kecia says:

    I didn’t realize they changed the dates. I thought 36 weeks was full term! My boys came during the 39th week so they were still right on time.

  3. I had no idea the time table for births had changed. None of this had changed the last time I was pregnant.

  4. I didn’t know that the birth timetable had changed until I got pregnant with my youngest a year ago. This is good info.

  5. Debbie Denny says:

    Never had any problems with mine. They were all early by this standard.

  6. Two out of three of my kids were early due to preeclampsia. This is great info for new mommies.

  7. Liz Mays says:

    I was unaware there were changes. I wouldn’t want to have any unnecessary complications!

  8. I’m so happy you shared this. I had no idea about these changes.

  9. Marcie W. says:

    One of my children arrived early at 35wks, and although healthy at the time, she is now 9 and suffers from asthma, allergies and super sensitive skin, which I feel is all related to her being a tad premature. It is so important to keep those little ones in for as long as possible.

  10. Wow, I had no idea the time line had changed. I have always known that it’s best to carry to full term if at all possible.

  11. Val says:

    I actually did know this and it makes me happy to see the change. The longer babies can be in the womb, the better!

  12. Kristi says:

    I didn’t know about the change. I had twins though and delivered early…as I started contracting at 26 weeks. Amazing medical world got me to 33 weeks though and our girls are healthy and are 11 years old.

  13. Jeanine says:

    This is all news to me. I only had one 39 weeker. The rest all came before on their owns and are healthy, healthy!

  14. melisasource says:

    All of my children arrived at different times — some early, some late. Very few arrived right on the usual timeline. And all of them are healthy. I’m glad that I had doctors who allowed nature to take its course!

  15. So where did I get 40? I always thought full term is 40 weeks. Mine were both overdue

  16. Wow, good information. My little ones were scheduled in week 39, but I thought 37 was fully baked, so this is a change!

  17. Crystal says:

    I had three kids, each falling within different terms. It’s best if they reach full-term.

  18. Rosey says:

    You got a great photo shoot there at the end. I don’t have any of my pics, sadly. I miss them.

  19. I was full term for my son and I guess I was post-term for my daughter. They had to induce me for her! I have a few belly shots from each of my pregnancies – both right before I delivered. I was HUGE!

  20. I agree, there is NO need to rush it! I know at the end I felt uncomfortable, exhausted and anxious but so glad I let my baby go as long as needed – she actually came at 40 weeks 3 days.

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