What Is The “Go The Full 40” Pregnancy Campaign?

A full-term pregnancy is 40 weeks and encourages healthy, well-developed babies.

A full-term pregnancy is 40 weeks. Babies who remain in the womb for the entire 40 weeks have the best chances of survival and are the most developed and ready to handle the outside world. To encourage women and doctors to do their best to reach 40-week pregnancies, the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nursing created the “Don’t Rush Me… Go the Full 40 Campaign.”

What is the campaign?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are about 1.3 thousand Cesarean deliveries every year. That number is less than half of the 2.7 million vaginal deliveries, but the c-section numbers have gone up. The Go the Full 40 campaign aims to stress the importance of waiting unless it is necessary for the baby and mother’s health to have a c-section or induce labor. The campaign is also looking to educate pregnant moms that choosing a c-section or inducing labor before 40 weeks can be dangerous if it’s not necessary.

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Why is natural birth best?

With any type of birth there are risks. Babies develop so rapidly that their health differs greatly from one week to the next. Even between weeks 34-36, a child’s risk of being underdeveloped and having to spend time in the neonatal intensive care unit increase. Waiting for spontaneous birth, or birth that occurs naturally, is the healthiest option for mom and baby so long as it happens after the baby is 37 weeks along. This is when babies’ bodies and brains have developed enough to survive outside the womb. Natural birth is also important for moms’ bodies because it typically has a faster recovery time. Cesarean sections are major abdominal surgery that involves a longer time in the hospital and overall longer recovery time.

a pregnant woman eating a salad
Eating many vitamins and nutrients can help your baby reach a full-term pregnancy.

The key to making it to a total 40-week pregnancy is to focus on your health. Work with your obstetrician to learn the best ways to manage unique risks and overall encourage both your health and your child’s development and well-being. Keep a healthy diet, get ample sleep and relax when possible. Avoid stress when possible and learn how movement like light exercise and massage may help you adjust to your changing body and any aches and pains that come with it.

How can I stay healthy until full-term?

Every pregnancy has its own risks, whether the mother has preexisting health conditions or the baby may have health problems in utero. It’s not uncommon for pregnant women to develop conditions like gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, anemia or thrombosis. Your obstetrician and primary care doctor will treat and help you manage these conditions in a way that is safe for you and your baby. Often, these diseases are only temporary and last through your pregnancy but quickly dissipate afterward. In some cases, issues like heart disease may carry on and require more treatment after you give birth.

Talk with your doctors about the importance of a full-term pregnancy and ways that you can work toward this important gestational goal.