Medical Definition of Post-term infant

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Infant, post-term: An overly mature baby that has not been born until well after the usual term pregnancy.

A post-term baby is one born 2 weeks (14 days) or more after the usual 9 months (280 days) of gestation. The gestation (length of the pregnancy) is calculated from the date of the last menstrual period (LMP). This is a very important calculation since, if delivery is delayed 3 weeks beyond term, the infant mortality rate skyrockets to 3 times normal.

The definition of a post-term infant has evolved. A few sources still consider a baby post-term if it is born a week after the usual 9 months' gestation but the current trend is to consider a baby post-term only if it is born 2 weeks (14 days) or more after the usual full-term 9 months of gestation.

The terms "post-term infant" and "postmature infant" are interchangeable.

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Reviewed on 12/27/2018

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