Why Full Term Pregnancy at 40 Weeks is so Important
Did you know pregnancy is 10 months and not 9? Yeah, so nobody told me about that extra month, because 40 weeks is considered the eviction notice but it can vary from your delivery date. Pregnancy lasts for about 280 days or 40 weeks. But it can vary as much as five weeks from the determined date of conception, calculated by your last period (which is estimated as 280 days after the women's last menstruation). Did you know only 4% of women actually deliver on their due date?
The average length of a normal pregnancy is about 37 weeks (notice I said average). I personally delivered at 37 and 37.3 weeks. Reasons for this variation is that embryos can take longer to implant caused by a late rise in the hormone called progesterone, and it's been found that they also take longer to deliver by about 12 days. And women who are older (advanced maternal age is considered any women over 35 years of age) and heavier usually have naturally longer pregnancies. White European women versus African-Caribbean or Asian women usually delivery one week after their due date. It is estimated that one in twenty women would have a pregnancy last longer than 42 weeks but in the US and UK labor is induced to prevent potential problems at 40 weeks.
Babies can be preterm for a variety of reasons, so let's take a look at what the definition of preterm is.
1. Extremely preterm infants 23-28 weeks.
2. Moderate preterm are born between 29 and 33 weeks
3. Late preterm infants are from 34 to 37 weeks.
Women who have had previous preterm babies are at a high risk for another preterm baby. Women with uterine or cervical abnormalities like fibroids or tumors are also at high risk. You will probably be seeing a neonatologist if this is you. If you're having multiples like twins or triplets you will for sure go early. Other factors for preterm risk include: Diabetes, high blood pressure, blood clotting problems, placental bleeding (also called placenta previa), over or underweight baby (My son was IUGR, Interuterine Growth Retardation, they have since given a better named because all I heard was retardation but it just means that my baby boy was little and they never found a reason), short time between pregnancies, stress, smoking, drinking, or illegal drugs, or even late or no prenatal care (listen to pregnancy pukeology podcast episode 3 why take prenatal vitamins).