CHICAGO -- A new study of full-term births suggests differences exist within the range of that definition, and it raises questions about hastening childbirth by scheduling cesarean deliveries strictly for convenience.
Full-term is generally between 37 weeks and 41 weeks. Children born before 37 weeks are called premature and are known to face increased obstacles.
The children in the study in the journal, Pediatrics, were all full-term, and the vast majority did fine on third-grade math and reading tests. The differences were small, but the study found that more kids born at 37 or 38 weeks did poorly than kids born even a week or two later.
Doctors think the extra time in the womb results in more brain development, and a study suggests perhaps better scores on academic tests, too.
The researchers say the results suggest that the definition of prematurity should also be reconsidered.