Postmaturity describes pregnancies that have extended to 42 or more weeks of gestation. As with the theory about prematurity, there is a gaussian distribution in length of gestation, and it is thus normal for some pregnancies to continue this long. Postmaturity provides controversy as to whether there is any significant indication to induce labour at, say, 42 weeks as is the practice in many centres. This approach is an attempt to avoid the very small increases in mortality and morbidity seen in post mature infants.
There is confusion in the literature as some sources use the term postmature to describe the state of fetal growth relative to gestational age. It has even been suggested that postmaturity is a misnomer - maturity is not truly attained until adulthood.
Last reviewed 06/2021