Q. I'm hearing about the "full 40" during my pregnancy - what does that mean?

by Tara Raudebaugh, MSN, RN

No one likes to be rushed… not even your unborn baby. The length of pregnancy is often thought of as ten months. The medical community refers to pregnancy length in weeks…40 weeks. Let’s face it… as pregnancy nears the end, physical discomfort often increases! The anticipation of meeting your new little “he” or “she” can be exciting and overwhelming. While getting the pregnancy overwith sounds wonderful, research shows, “going the full 40” is preferable for your baby. Inducing labor should be reserved for medical reasons as determined by your doctor.

The Association of Women’s Health Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses has started a campaign to educate women about the benefits of not rushing birth through induction but allowing labor to start without intervention for healthy women’s without medical issues. For instance, baby’s brains born at 35 weeks are 2/3rds the size they will be at term. The closer a baby is born to 40 weeks the better she maintains her temperature. Babies suck and swallow more effectively at term and have increased success with breast feeding. Instances of jaundice, low blood sugar, and infection is decreased by waited until your baby is ready to born. Babies born just two weeks or more weeks early can have twice the number of complications with breathing.

Try to savor the journey of pregnancy… even to the end. Delight in those little kicks you feel and marvel at the miracle of the life inside. Nourish your body with a healthy diet. Keep your scheduled doctors appointments. Take full advantage of the time you have left as “you and me” before you are a threesome…or more. Enjoy pampering a bit longer by letting others help with heavy lifting. Remember babies are easier to care for in the womb. Try to relax… your baby is worth the wait!

Wooster Community Hospital Doctors and Nurses are excited to assist you through one of the most exciting times of your life. For a tour of Wooster Community Hospital Labor and Delivery unit or to sign up for one of our preparation classes, call 330-202-5548.

Manager of The Women's Pavilion