How Many Weeks Pregnant

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All you need to know about pregnancy. How many weeks pregnant and what trimester are you in.

 girl listening to baby in the stomach 

How many weeks pregnant am I?

Congratulations, you think (or know) you might be pregnant! But bear in mind, it may be quite confusing to try to work out how many weeks pregnant you are.

That’s because of the way that doctors and midwives have traditionally calculated the ‘weeks pregnant’ timeframe, with 40 weeks being the due date.

Doctors and midwives generally discuss pregnancies in weeks, rather than months, so they can more accurately assess the growth and development of the baby throughout the pregnancy.

The average pregnancy is assumed to be a total of 40 weeks (that’s 280 days) from the first day of your last menstrual period (often shortened to ‘LMP’). But anytime between 30-40 weeks is still considered “term”.

Pregnancy is commonly referred to in terms of ‘gestational age’ rather than ‘foetal age development.’ When you think about it carefully, that means that the average gestation only goes for 38 weeks after fertilisation – and using this system, you are already two weeks ‘pregnant’ at the time of ovulation!

How many weeks pregnant am I – under the foetal age (or ovulation) system?

Sometimes doctors and midwives talk about the ‘foetal age’ or use the ‘ovulation’ system of determining pregnancy weeks. This is because these measurements are generally more accurate than assuming ovulation has occurred 14 days after the first day of the last period.

The foetal age is the actual age of your baby – that is, how many weeks since the egg and sperm joined together in conception.

Thanks to technologies like ultrasound, as well as widely-available and increasingly accurate ovulation testing, foetal age can be determined much more easily and give a better estimate of actual pregnancy weeks.

If you have a shorter or longer menstrual cycle than the standard 28 days, using the standard gestational age ‘dates’ won’t quite match up with your baby’s gestation, so foetal age can be more accurate.

Trimesters

Pregnancy is usually divided into three ‘trimesters’ of around twelve weeks each. That’s because these represent three quite different stages of pregnancy in terms of the experiences of a pregnant woman and her baby’s development.

How many weeks will your pregnancy be?

The main reason that most women want to know how many weeks pregnant they are, is because they want to know what date their baby will be born. This is also known as the expected date of confinement (EDC) or expected date of delivery (EDD).

The traditional method of estimating the due date of a baby, called Naegele’s rule, is to add one year then take away three months and add seven days to the first day of the last normal period.

So, if your last period started on 18 November, then your due date is going to be the 25 August, which works out to around 40 weeks. Naegele’s rule assumes the woman has a 28-day menstrual cycle and ovulated and fell pregnant on day 14; so gestation is 38 weeks from the day of ovulation.

However, ovulation and conception are not that simple. Around only 5% of babies actually arrive on their due date, much to the frustration of most expectant parents and waiting families.

Statistically, first time mothers are more likely to be overdue than have their baby before the due date.

If the pregnancy has been healthy and without complications, most babies are ready to be born between 38-42 weeks.

Current statistics show that around 8% of babies are born premature, i.e. before 37 weeks of gestation.

 

This article is adapted from Fran Molloy, journalist and mum of four.

The information published herein is intended and strictly only for informational, educational, purposes and the same shall not be misconstrued as medical advice. If you are worried about your own health, or your child’s well being, seek immediate medical advice. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website. Kimberly-Clark and/ or its subsidiaries assumes no liability for the interpretation and/or use of the information contained in this article. Further, while due care and caution has been taken to ensure that the content here is free from mistakes or omissions, Kimberly-Clark and/ or its subsidiaries makes no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information here, and to the extent permitted by law, Kimberly-Clark and/ or its subsidiaries do not accept any liability or responsibility for claims, errors or omissions.

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