How Many Weeks is a Full Term Pregnancy?

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Eat healthy and real food , use bathroom when you have to , do not skip meals and smell check are some of the tips to achieve full term pregnancy.

Being pregnant for nine months is quite a task with all the cravings and frequent bathroom trips, also the fatigue. It was previously believed that babies born between 37 and 42 weeks were equally likely to be born healthy, which is why 37 weeks was considered to be full term.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the Society for Maternal – Fetal Medicine (SMFM) in the year 2013, reviewed the research and decided to change the full term pregnancy to 39 weeks.

All You Need to Know About Full Term Pregnancy Weeks

full term pregnancy weeks

On an average, pregnancy would last for about 280 days or 40 weeks. If your baby is delivered at 37 weeks, then it is considered as a premature or preterm baby.  Extremely preterm infants are born 23 through 28 weeks, moderately preterm infants are born between 29 and 33 weeks and late preterm infants are born between 34 and 37 weeks.

According to a study carried out it was found that that when a baby spends two more weeks in the womb, it allows the baby’s brain, lungs and liver to mature more fully. Also, they are less likely to have vision and hearing problems, more likely to be born at a healthy weight and suck and swallow well at birth.

Sometimes, caregivers schedule the delivery before 39 weeks for other non – medical reasons or for convenience, thinking that this would avoid discomfort of the last few weeks of pregnancy and believe that the baby is ready to be born. But, it is to be noted that delivery should not be planned before 39 weeks unless continuing pregnancy could cause significant health risks for mother or baby.

Sometimes, delivery can occur before 39 weeks as your water can break or contractions occur early. In such a case, your caregiver will not try to delay the labor and most babies born are fine.

How many weeks for a full term twin pregnancy?

According to the March of Dimes, it was found that almost 60 percent of twins are born prematurely. The average twin pregnancy lasts for 35 weeks.

Triplet pregnancies last for an average of 33 weeks and quad pregnancies for an average of 29 weeks.

Risk factors for preterm births

  • Women who have had a previous preterm baby are at the highest risk for another preterm baby
  • Women who are carrying multiple babies, twins, triplets, quads
  • Women who have cervical or uterine abnormalities such as fibroid tumors
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Blood clotting disorders
  • Placenta bleeding or other problems
  • Late or minimal prenatal care
  • Stress
  • Short interval between pregnancies
  • Smoking, drinking and other illegal drugs

Tips to achieve full term pregnancy

It is however unknown as to what causes preterm labor, but you can follow some of these tips to increase your chances of reaching full term:

Eat healthy and real food

According to a study of 66,000 pregnant Scandinavian women, it was found that those who ate a healthy diet of fresh and raw vegetables, whole – grain cereals, fruits, lean poultry, fish with lots of water were less likely to have a premature labor when compared to those women whose diet included more of processed foods.

Use bathroom when you have to

Don’t try to avoid using the bathroom constantly even though you frequently need to. This can lead to development of urinary tract infections that may cause preterm labor. It’s better to watch for foul – smelling, cloudy or bloody urine as it can occur in a urinary tract infection.

Do not skip meals

Skipping meals and going for longer periods without food increases your risk for preterm labor. It is best to eat five times a day, including your meals and snacks. Eat smaller meals to reduce nausea and hurt burn.

Smell check

Many of the fragrances in your shampoo, and other beauty products contain phthalates, which are hormone – mimicking chemicals that are linked with preterm labor. According to a study by JAMA Pediatrics, it was found that pregnant women having higher levels of phthalates in their urine were 2 to 5 times more likely to have a preterm labor.

Conclusion

A full term pregnancy according to ACOG and SMFM is considered to be for 40 weeks. It was previously believed that babies delivered after 37 weeks was considered to be full term, but recent research showed that babies delivered two weeks later were more likely to have fully mature brain, lungs, liver and are less likely to have vision and hearing problems.

Women with multiple pregnancies are more likely to have a preterm labor; the average pregnancy term for twins is 35 weeks and triplets 33 weeks.  Women with previous preterm labor or diabetes or uterine and cervical abnormalities or smoking, etc. are prone to have a preterm labor.

Certain tips are suggested to reduce the risk of a preterm labor – eating real and healthy food instead of processed and junk food, drinking lots of water, not skipping meals, using the washroom frequently as when needed, etc.

References

http://www.acog.org/About-ACOG/News-Room/News-Releases/2013/Ob-Gyns-Redefine-Meaning-of-Term-Pregnancy

https://www.health.ny.gov/community/pregnancy/why_is_40_weeks_so_important.htm

Hope this article was of help to you! Please share your comments/queries/tips with us and help us create a world full of Happy, Healthy and Empowered Women!!

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