Previously, experts thought that a term birth is considered 37 to 41 weeks, and that babies born at 37 weeks had the same risk of infant mortality as babies born at 41 weeks. But according to a new study from Obstetrics & Gynecology, babies born during weeks 37 or 38 weeks are at greater risk of infant mortality.
A truly elective delivery should wait until at least 39 weeks, according to study author Uma M. Reddy, MD, MPH of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Development.
"We don't stop labor at 37 weeks, and the majority of babies will do fine," she said, adding that waiting 39 weeks is best for both mom and baby. "But if nothing is going on and you are doing well, waiting to 39 weeks is best for you and your baby."
This study supports the March of Dimes’ recent guidelines that urges against induction and scheduled c-section before 39 weeks of pregnancy, unless it’s medically necessary.
How far along were you before you went into labor?