It's hard to believe, but 25% of all babies are now delivered before 39 weeks, the length of time that is now recognized by obstetricians as a full-term pregnancy. In 1990, only 10% of babies were delivered this early. Until recently, many pregnant women had been assured by their doctors that having a baby induced or having a C-section a week or two early was totally OK for the baby. So mothers have been requesting convenient deliveries, and doctors have obliged, often because of their own scheduling conficts. But recent evidence suggests that babies who are born even a few days shy of the 39-week mark are at higher risk for seizures, respiratory problems, and bloodstream infections, as Laura Landro explains today in a great article in the Wall Street Journal. Brain development and function and psychological and behavioral problems have also been linked to delivery at weeks 37/38, says Ms. Landro. Insurers, hospitals, professional groups, and the March of Dimes are all working to reverse this trend. Read the article that started people thinking about this, which appeared in The New England Journal of Medicine in 2009. Important stuff.