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Featured Clinical Reviews

June 19, 2013

Defining “Term” Pregnancy: Recommendations From the Defining “Term” Pregnancy Workgroup

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland.

JAMA. 2013;309(23):2445-2446. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.6235

The national emphasis on reducing preterm birth, and the increase in scheduled deliveries, has created confusion around the definition of term gestation. The concept of “term” gestation provides guidance to clinicians and influences the public's perceptions about the optimal timing of delivery for a healthy pregnancy. Currently, a term birth is defined as a delivery that occurs neither preterm nor postterm. Because preterm is classically defined as delivery prior to 37 weeks following the onset of the last menstrual period and postterm as after 42 weeks, term has been conventionally defined as delivery between 37 and 42 weeks. The International Classification of Diseases defines term pregnancy as delivery between 37 weeks 0 days and 41 weeks 6 days.1,2

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