Full term is a term used in pregnancy to describe when a baby is developed enough to be born, which is typically between 37 and 40 weeks of gestational age. This is measured from the first day of the woman’s last menstrual period. At this stage, the baby has reached its full development and is ready for life outside the womb.

Key Takeaways

  1. Full term is a term in pregnancy which refers to a gestational period of 37-42 weeks. This is generally considered the optimal period for fetal growth and development, allowing the baby to fully develop all of the major organs and bodily systems.
  2. When a baby is born full term, they usually have fewer complications than babies who are preterm or postterm. Babies born at full term are generally healthier, with a greater chance of survival and less risk of suffering from health issues like vision and hearing problems, respiratory distress, and other long-term health problems.
  3. In relation to the mother, full term pregnancy leads to easier childbirth as the baby is ready for the outside world and has reached an appropriate size for birth. Additionally, it also gives the mother’s body proper time to prepare for labor and delivery.


The term “full term” in motherhood is important because it refers to the period within which a baby has developed enough in the womb to survive and thrive outside.

This spans from the 37th to 42nd week of gestation.

During this time, the baby’s lungs, liver, and brain have had adequate time to mature, increasing the chances of the baby being born without significant health problems.

Babies born before the full term are considered premature, and they may have to deal with various health issues associated with incomplete development.

So, the full-term period is crucial to ensure that the baby has the best possible start in life.


Full term refers to a pregnancy that has progressed without significant complications up to the point of 37 to 42 weeks, as per the World Health Organization’s definition. This period is integral in ensuring that the baby has matured sufficiently in utero before entering the world.

When a pregnancy reaches full term, the chances of the baby having serious health problems at birth significantly decrease. This term ensures that the baby has had enough time for development of crucial systems like the brain, lungs, and liver.

The primary purpose of the term “full term” is to guide healthcare professionals and expectant mothers about the optimal time for delivery. It aids in communicating clearly regarding whether the baby has spent enough time in the womb to develop adequately.

Also, it enables an understanding of the potential risks and interventions associated with preterm and postterm birth, thus facilitating informed decision-making. In terms of medical communication and data recording, ‘full term’ serves as a crucial point of reference in obstetric and pediatric care, impacting public health policies and practices.

Examples of Full term

Jane’s Pregnancy: Jane was excited when she reached her due date because her baby had reached full term. She spent 9 months taking care of her health, attending regular prenatal check-ups, and preparing for the arrival of her baby. Going full-term ensured Jane’s baby had all the time needed in the womb to fully develop.

Birth Education Class: At a birth and parenting class, the instructor explained the importance of a pregnancy reaching full term. The instructor used various visual aids and props to demonstrate the development of the fetus from conception to a full-term baby, highlighting why each week in the womb is crucial for development.

World Health Organization Reports: Studies and reports by the World Health Organization (WHO) highlight that babies born at full term (between 37 and 42 weeks of gestation) have better health outcomes than babies born preterm. These babies have more mature organ systems, better body weight, and generally require less time in neonatal intensive care.

FAQ on Full Term Motherhood

What Does Full Term Mean in Pregnancy?

Full term refers to a pregnancy that has reached 37 weeks but is not beyond 42 weeks. It means pregnancy has lasted enough weeks for the baby to be born without any increased risk of complications.

What Are The Characteristics of a Full Term Pregnancy?

A full-term pregnancy is characterized by the complete development of the baby’s organs and systems, such as the brain, lungs and liver. Babies are usually the right size for birth with typical weight from 6 to 9 pounds and length of 19 to 21 inches.

What Are The Benefits of Full Term Pregnancy?

Full term pregnancy allows for complete development of the baby. This minimizes potential health issues, contributes to better breastfeeding success and facilitates a smoother transition to life outside the womb for the baby.

What Could Happen If a Baby Isn’t Full Term?

If a baby isn’t full term, it might face challenges like breathing problems, difficulty in feeding and maintaining body temperature. They are also more prone to infections and may need to spend time in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

How Can I Increase The Chances of a Full Term Pregnancy?

Regular prenatal care, maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle, avoiding harmful substances like alcohol and tobacco, managing stress, avoiding infections, and knowing the signs of preterm labor can increase the chances of a full term pregnancy.

Related Motherhood Terms

  • Gestational Age
  • Due Date
  • Birth Weight
  • Neonatal Care
  • Natural Birth

Sources for More Information