Know Your Terms Newsletter Drop-in Language for Consumers and Providers

Copy and paste any of the sample drop-in newsletter language and add the text to your newsletter, eblast, or blog to tell your colleagues and community about this initiative.

Know Your Terms Sample Newsletter Content for a Consumer Audience:

Title: What is the New Definition of Full-Term Pregnancy Means for You

In the past, a baby born anytime between 37 weeks and 42 weeks of pregnancy was considered "term" or fully developed. We now know that important developmental stages occur during the 37th and 38th weeks. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine announced new, more precise definitions of the 37-week to 42-week period to reflect the higher or lower health risks for babies born during that timeframe.

  • Babies born at 37 weeks and 38 weeks are now called "early term"—they are at higher risk for potential health problems, such as problems with breathing, feeding, and controlling their temperature, than are babies born later.
  • Babies born at weeks 39 weeks or 40 weeks are called "full term"—they are at lower risk for health problems than are babies born earlier.
  • Babies born in week 41 are called "late term"

Learn more at and talk to your health care provider about what the new full-term pregnancy definition means for you.

Know Your Terms Sample Newsletter Content for a Health Professional Audience:

Title: New Gestational Age Designations: Full Term Starts at 39 Weeks

"How much longer until I can deliver?" As an [OB, nurse], you've probably heard this question hundreds of times from expectant mothers. New gestational age designations from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine provide a clear answer for your patients.

The ACOG committee opinion, released in November 2013, replaces the use of "term," which previously indicated gestation between 37 weeks and 42 weeks, with the following gestational age designations:

  • Early term: 37 0/7 weeks through 38 6/7 weeks
  • Full term: 39 0/7 weeks through 40 6/7 weeks
  • Late term: 41 0/7 weeks through 41 6/7 weeks
  • Postterm: 42 0/7 weeks and beyond

This change reflects a growing body of research findings, some of which has been led by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, showing that key developmental processes occur between 37 weeks and 39 weeks. Babies born at or after 39 weeks have better health outcomes compared to those born before 39 weeks. Tell your patients! Unless there's a health problem, reaching full term means 39 weeks, not 37. Free resources and information at

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