Previously women who were 37 to 41 weeks were considered "full term," and women 42 weeks or more were considered "post-term." Now "full term" will be a more narrow window, from 39 to 41 weeks. According to Dr. Manny Alvarez, this is another step to discourage unnecessary deliveries. "What this is saying is listen and pay attention to the gestational age and try to get past 39 weeks because that's the best for the baby and at the end of the day those are the things that these rulings are trying to tell obstetricians and consumers," he said.
The new guidelines will appear in the journal "Obstetrics and Gynecology."