PeriStats

What information are you looking for? Please start your selection with either location or topic. Not all items are required. After you submit, you can narrow your results by year or health indicator or compare with another region. To get the best results, use reset button before starting a new search.
Search User Control
Location: Please select
edit
Topic: Please select
edit
Format: Please select
edit
slides (0)

News

Typical Pregnancy is Now Only 39 Weeks

Late Preterm Births Increase

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., MARCH 23, 2006 - The most common length of pregnancy in the United States is now 39 weeks, a week shorter than the traditional definition of a full-term pregnancy. This shift occurred between 1992 and 2002, according to a new analysis by the March of Dimes published this month in a special supplement of the journal Seminars in Perinatology.

In 2002, one-quarter of all singleton babies were born full term at 39 weeks. Births at or after 40 weeks decreased by nearly 21 percent. During the decade studied, there was also a 12 percent increase in births occurring between 34 and 36 weeks, referred to as "late preterm births" (sometimes called "near-term births").

"Late preterm infants are a growing concern," said Nancy Green, M.D., medical director of the March of Dimes. "Some babies born just a few weeks early need medical and nursing attention beyond that given to full term newborns. They have a greater likelihood of breathing problems like respiratory distress syndrome (RDS), feeding difficulties, temperature instability (hypothermia), jaundice and reduced brain development than full-term babies."

The March of Dimes analysis suggests that increasing rates of Cesarean section deliveries and induced labor have probably contributed to, but do not completely explain these shifts in deliveries, said Michael Davidoff, Manager of Informatics, Research and Development at the March of Dimes and the paper's lead author.

Clinicians weigh the risk for the mother and the fetus of continuing a medically complicated pregnancy, versus the risks associated with earlier delivery. For some high-risk pregnancies, early delivery may promote better outcomes for both the mother and the baby. The availability of more data on the outcomes of late preterm births will better inform providers and the public about potentially preventable risks. Pregnancies should continue to term if medically and obstetrically advisable, thereby avoiding unnecessary preterm inductions and c-sections.

The March of Dimes study, "Changes in Gestational Age Distribution Among U.S. Singleton Births: Impact on Rates of Late Preterm Birth, 1992 to 2002," was one of the research papers presented at a symposium addressing late preterm birth in July 2005, hosted by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development of the National Institutes of Health. The scientific meeting focused on definitions, trends and complications faced by late preterm babies. These studies are published in a Seminars in Perinatology special supplement on late preterm birth.

The March of Dimes is a national voluntary health agency whose mission is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth, and infant mortality. Founded in 1938, the March of Dimes funds programs of research, community services, education, and advocacy to save babies and in 2003 launched a campaign to address the increasing rate of premature birth. For more information, visit the March of Dimes Web site at marchofdimes.org or its Spanish language Web site at nacersano.org.

Headlines

December, 2014

 Birth Defects Data Now Available on PeriStats
 

August, 2014

 PRAMS Data Updated for 2011
 

June, 2014

 March of Dimes 2014 Hispanic Report
 
 2012 Natality and 2010 Infant Mortality Data Updated
 

May, 2014

 PRAMS Data Updated for 2009 and 2010
 

August, 2013

 Fetal and Perinatal Mortality Data Updated
 

October, 2011

 Special Care Nursery Admissions
 

November, 2010

 Preterm Birth Rates Improve in Most States
 

May, 2010

 Federal Report Finds Early Births Decline in Most Categories
 

April, 2010

 Preterm Birth Rate Drops Three Percent
 

November, 2009

 U.S. Gets a "D" for Preterm Birth Rate
 

March, 2009

 Preterm Birth Rate Drops
 

February, 2009

 States Expand Newborn Screening for Life-Threatening Disorders
 

January, 2009

 Preterm Births Rise 36 Percent Since Early 1980s
 

December, 2008

 Babies Born Just a Few Weeks Too Soon at Greater Risk of Cerebral Palsy and Other Developmental Delays
 

October, 2008

 Nation Gets a "D" as March of Dimes Releases Premature Birth Report Card
 

July, 2008

 Preterm Birth Contributes to Growing Number of Infant Deaths
 

May, 2008

 C- Sections a Critical Factor in Preterm Birth Increase
 
 Analysis of Millions of U.S. Births Shows Association Between Birth Defects and Preterm Birth
 

December, 2007

 More Babies Born Prematurely, New Report Shows
 

July, 2007

 Nearly 90% of Babies Receive Recommended Newborn Screening Tests
 

June, 2007

 March of Dimes Study Unveils New Data on the Cost of Having a Baby
 

May, 2007

 Preterm Birth Contributes To More Than One-Third of Infant Deaths
 

April, 2007

 New State Perinatal Data Snapshots
 

July, 2006

 Institute of Medicine Prematurity Report
 
 Nearly Two-Thirds of Babies Receive Most of the Recommended Newborn Screening Tests
 

March, 2006

 Typical Pregnancy is Now Only 39 Weeks
 

November, 2005

 New March of Dimes report on Hispanic Preterm Births
 

January, 2005

 Progesterone Therapy for Some High Risk Pregnant Women Could Prevent Thousands of Premature Births
 

September, 2004

 Folic Acid Vitamin Use By Women Reaches All-Time High, March of Dimes Survey Finds
 

August, 2004

 New PeriStats Web Site: Overview of new features
 
 March of Dimes Perinatal Data Center launches new PeriStats web site!
 

June, 2004

 March of Dimes State Report Card on Newborn Screening