Every Week Matters During Late Pregnancy! Here’s Why Photo: Thinkstock / The Bump
Think there’s not much difference between giving birth at week 37 and at week 40? Not true, says a new study published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology. Researchers analyzed the data of 46 million babies born between 1995 and 2006 and found that babies born at early term (in weeks 37 or 38) had a higher infant mortality rate than those born full-term (in weeks 39 or 40). The most staggering stat: Those who were born at week 37 were twice as likely to die before their first birthday than babies born at week 40 were.
“Infants born at 37 weeks or greater are considered term and have traditionally been considered as a uniform group,” said study author Uma M. Reddy, MD, of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, in a statement. “Our study shows that there are often marked differences in the health of infants born in the early part of this period and those born in the latter part.”
She says more research needs to be done to find out why babies are being born early and how it’s affecting their health. If you’re scheduling baby’s birth, you’ll want to talk to your doctor to see what’s best for you and your baby, such as if delivery can wait until at least week 39.
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