Women Miscalculate Time to Full-Term Birth

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I don't agree with the suggestion that it is women who miscalculate the time to full term. While some may believe that a baby is "full term" from 37 weeks onwards, it is the obstetrician who agrees to the induction or caesarean prior to 39 weeks. I'm not comfortable with the implication that if a baby is born electively prior to 39 weeks, that it is the woman's fault.

... the rate of preterm deliveries continues to climb ... a new study suggests one reason ... many women are confused about what constitutes a full-term birth ...

... one-quarter of new mothers surveyed ... considered a baby born at 34 to 36 weeks of gestation to be full term, while slightly more than half of women considered 37 to 38 weeks full term.

Though technically speaking, preterm births are babies born prior to 37 weeks, 39 to 40 weeks is optimal ...

Many women interviewed were also unaware that babies born even a little bit premature are at a higher risk of serious health problems compared to babies born at term ...

... "The data is becoming more and more clear that the outcomes of births at those earlier gestational ages are not as good as babies that are born at 39 or 40 weeks."

... any delivery short of 39 weeks puts a baby at higher risk of respiratory distress, sepsis... and needing to be placed in the neonatal intensive care unit ...

... the percentage of babies born preterm rose by more than 20 percent from 1990 to 2006 ...

... the World Health Organization ... defines preterm births as babies born before 37 weeks. But that definition ... is outdated ... studies have shown that babies born ... at 37 or 38 weeks have a greater chance of chronic respiratory disease and learning disorders than children born at 39 weeks or later.

Babies born between 34 and 37 weeks are six times more likely to die during their first week or life and three times more likely to die during their first year than babies born at 39 or 40 weeks ...

... The last few weeks of gestation are critical to fetal development. All of the organs continue to mature in preparation for moving from the womb to the outside world ... between 35 and 40 weeks, the fetal brain grows by about 50 percent ...

Melissa Maimann, Essential Birth Consulting 0400 418 448