by Rachel Burt, Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner at Roswell OB/GYN
It’s your last month of pregnancy and you are over it. Your back is killing you, your varicose veins – even those in unmentionable places- are aching, your legs are swollen, you haven’t slept a full night’s sleep in weeks, and you want this baby out! We can definitely empathize with you as Alpharetta gynecology specialists. The final month of pregnancy can be so uncomfortable. It is typically right around this time that we start hearing soon-to-be mommies begging to be induced. Although we know how miserable the last month of pregnancy can be, our practice does not perform elective inductions prior to 39 weeks.
American College of OB/GYN released a statement yesterday reinforcing the importance of avoiding elective deliveries prior to 39 weeks gestation. Your due date is calculated as 40 weeks from the first day of your last menstrual period. Our office typically does an early ultrasound to confirm the accuracy of the due date. Previously, preterm infants were defined as those born prior to 37 weeks. Full-term infants were those delivered between 37 and 41 weeks. The assumption was that there were insignificant differences between babies born at 37 and 41 weeks. However, new data shows that waiting the few extra weeks from 37 and 39 weeks can mean a big difference in reducing the number of babies born with delaying the umbilical cord clamping, breathing, and feeding complications for soon-to-be mommies. To reflect this new information, ACOG developed new terminology to differentiate between preterm and full-term infants.
- Early-Term: Between 37 weeks 0 days and 38 weeks 6 days
- Full-Term: Between 39 weeks 0 days and 40 weeks 6 days
- Late-Term: Between 41 weeks 0 days and 41 weeks 6 days
- Post-term: Between 42 weeks 0 days and beyond
The healthiest babies with the fewest complications are born between 39 weeks 0 days and 40 weeks 6 days. Recommendations now state inductions prior to 39 weeks should only be considered if staying pregnant would poorly affect the health of the fetus or the mother. Of course, some deliveries are unavoidable if the mother goes into labor on her own prior to 39 weeks or with medical complications.
We know it is rough at the end of your pregnancy. We encourage our patients to stay calm, take extra breaks, rest and remember there is an end in sight! You will not be pregnant forever and we know you want to reduce your risk for a c-section.