In fact, not all people in the U.S. are aware of the idea that full term is 39 weeks, either. There is a lot of irritated argument about this every time someone wants to get induced early because they are tired of being pregnant. The relatively new set of definitions is explained in the following article (and YES it does reference only medical associations in the U.S.) but the idea is clear, that it is better for the baby not to push an earlier delivery if given a choice.
"In light of recent research showing that each week of gestation affects newborn health, a leading doctors' group is redefining when a pregnancy is considered "term."
"Previously, a pregnancy was considered full term any time between 37 and 42 weeks of gestation. On average, a single-fetus pregnancy lasts 40 weeks from the date of the woman's last menstrual period.
"In a joint statement, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine said the change is being made "to improve newborn outcomes and expand efforts to prevent nonmedically indicated deliveries before 39 weeks of gestation."
"Under the new definitions, the period between 37 weeks and 38 weeks, six days of gestation is considered "early term." Thirty-nine weeks to 40 weeks, six days is considered "full term"; between 41 weeks 0 days and 41 weeks, six days is "late term"; and 42 weeks and beyond is considered "postterm."
"Research over the past several years has shown that babies' brain and lungs fully mature during the last few weeks of pregnancy. Babies born between 39 weeks and 40 weeks, six days have the best health outcomes, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists said in a statement.
"This terminology change makes it clear to both patients and doctors that newborn outcomes are not uniform even after 37 weeks," Dr. Jeffrey Ecker, chair of the group's Committee on Obstetric Practice, said in the statement. "Each week of gestation up to 39 weeks is important for a fetus to fully develop before delivery and have a healthy start."
"Planned deliveries before 39 weeks should only occur when continuing a pregnancy poses "significant health risks" to a mother or baby, the group said, noting that sometimes delivery before then is unavoidable, such as when a women's water breaks or contractions come early."
In my opinionI think iit's ok for a baby to come out after 37 weeks but full term would be 39 weeks since the baby's brain still develops alot those two weeks. There's a reaon most doctor's refuse to induce women before 39 weeks at least here in the U.S.
I talked about this with my ob last week. He said he personally still considers full term at 37weeks along with all the other ob docs in his practice. He just won't induce any earlier than 39weeks. And won't let a pregnant woman go past 41weeks.
Difference being proberly the reason they haven't changed it here in the UK is because they don't induce at all or very rarely until after your due date, so if baby comes at 37 weeks it was natural. And regardless of the medical reasons it got changed its still not the case over here so people shouldn't just answer questions with the assumption your from the US thats the point o was making
Phoebe, on MedHelp people posting in the U.S. do sometimes speak with assumptions based on their cultural background being in the U.S., and that is not just true for the question of when someone is full term. (It is especially noticeable when someone from the Middle East or India is looking for advice about what to do in an abusive marriage. The resources and attitudes a woman has available in the U.S. are simply not available there, yet the answers sometimes come back as though they think they are.) This probably happens because this is a U.S.-based site, and though we have posters from all over the world, someone working quickly on their cell phone might not stop and check the person's profile to see where they are from. That all said, however, I don't think people are answering the question of what is term because they think everyone reading the answer is in the U.S. It is much more likely that most posters don't know that there would be any difference in what any doctor the world over thinks about what is term. In other words, there might be some assuming going on, but it's more likely to be assuming that all doctors everywhere think alike than it is assuming that all posters are in the United States.
Since all my pregnancies have been premature babies. My docs keep saying they would love it if I made it to 37 weeks that is still considered term for them in all my other pregnancies I have had my babies as early as 35 weeks they were all healthy a good weigh and never had to stay in nicu they even came home with me. I for my body 40 weeks would be like im overdue. Lol. I just think u should ask your obgyn about their guidelines.