In this comprehensive article, we will talk about pregnancy weeks, how to calculate them, the due date, and reasons for delayed delivery.
The mother waits anxiously for her delivery for 9 months! Many of them start counting the days and weeks of pregnancy that separate them from seeing their children.
Therefore, in this comprehensive article, we will talk about pregnancy weeks, how to calculate them, and the due date, along with the reasons for exceeding the normal pregnancy period.
All of this and more will be discussed in the following.
How many weeks is a pregnancy?
The normal period of pregnancy lasts for approximately 40 weeks, which is equivalent to 280 days. However, in some cases, the fetus may be born before the scheduled date, at around 37 or 38 weeks, or before the end of the normal pregnancy period by three weeks or two weeks.
In addition to the above, the fetus is born in a period between 29 and 33 weeks, and in other cases, the number of weeks of pregnancy may be between 23 and 28 weeks, and the fetus born at this time is called an extremely premature baby.
The health of the fetus is affected by the period in which it is conceived, as children born before 39 weeks of pregnancy may suffer from various health problems, including respiratory difficulties, low blood sugar levels, as well as several problems that sometimes lead to the baby being placed in the intensive care unit until their health stabilizes.
How to calculate pregnancy weeks and due date?
Calculating pregnancy weeks correctly helps pregnant women to adapt to the different stages of pregnancy, and to be physically and mentally prepared for the due date.
There are several methods through which pregnancy weeks can be calculated, which we will discuss in the following paragraphs.
In case of irregular menstrual cycles
When the menstrual cycle is irregular, there are several things that can help calculate the days of pregnancy after the irregular menstrual cycle, such as:
-Monitoring body temperature
-Monitoring the menstrual cycle pattern and its accurate arrival date to know how irregular it is and the changes that occur in its dates
-Monitoring the mucus secretions that occur in the cervix, as the amount of secretions is low after the end of the cycle, and increases more as the ovulation period approaches
-Using the digital ovulation test found in pharmacies, which is similar to a pregnancy test in its working method
-By ultrasound waves
Pregnancy weeks can be calculated by ultrasound waves, where this method works to determine the age of the pregnancy using the ultrasound device, or what is known as the ultrasound imaging device.
This device helps the doctor to know the necessary data to determine the date of fertilization in order to be able to evaluate the indicators of fetal growth and indicate its health compared to the age of the pregnancy.
It is worth noting that calculating pregnancy weeks by ultrasound is the most accurate among the previous methods.
Ultrasound is used for many purposes, especially during the first visit of a pregnant woman. This examination provides many pieces of information for the pregnant woman, including:
1-Number of fetuses and number of gestational sacs
2-Presence of fetal heartbeat
4-Presence of uterine fibroids
5-Determination of vital indicators indicating fetal health during pregnancy
6-Ensuring that the pregnancy is progressing normally compared to the growth rate and stage of pregnancy
7-Determination of the due date and prediction of the time of delivery
8-Examination of the size of the uterus
The doctor or midwife can determine the gestational age by measuring the size of the uterus. When the uterus is felt above the pelvis, the pregnancy is in the twelfth week.
When the distance between the pubic bone and the bottom of the uterus is measured in centimeters, the gestational age is approximately eighteen weeks, and the bottom of the uterus is high in the twentieth week.
This method is used to obtain an approximate number for the gestational age.
However, it is an inaccurate method for determining the gestational age or the fetus’s age due to several factors that control the height or low position of the uterus, such as the fetus’s position inside the uterus and uterine fibroids.
The length of the uterus’s bottom
The length of the uterus’s bottom is the distance between the pubic bone and the top of the uterus.
The doctor can calculate the length of the uterus’s bottom at each visit to the pregnant woman to verify the fetus’s health and the approximate due date.
Reasons for exceeding the natural gestational age
Some women may exceed the natural gestational age for several reasons, including:
-First child pregnancy
-Increased weight of the pregnant woman
-Medical history of the family, where babies are born after 42 weeks of pregnancy genetically
-Incorrect calculation of the expected due date
-Inaccurate recall of the last menstrual period before pregnancy
-Differences in the number of days of the menstrual cycle from month to month
-Number of previous pregnancies and deliveries
As previously mentioned, the normal pregnancy period for most women is about 280 days or 40 weeks, and the pregnancy period may extend for some between 38 and 42 weeks.
Doctors prefer women to give birth at the 40th week of pregnancy, because the baby’s growth is fully completed during this period, which increases the chances of natural childbirth.
However, if the 40th week is reached without any signs of natural childbirth, it is possible to wait for a week or two at most for natural childbirth, provided that the doctor allows it, and that these two weeks do not affect the health of the pregnant woman or the baby.
The period of pregnancy can be divided into several axes, including trimesters, weeks, and months.
Below is the first method, which is trimesters, as the period of pregnancy is divided into three sections:
1-The first trimester: from the first week to the end of the thirteenth week, during which the embryo attaches to the lining of the uterus and the body cells begin to form.
2-The second trimester: from the fourteenth week to the end of the twenty-sixth week. During this trimester, the fetus grows and gains weight, and the pregnant woman feels the first movements and kicks of her baby. It is also possible to determine the gender of the baby during this period.
3-The third trimester: from the twenty-seventh week until birth, during which the baby reaches the final stages of development. Nails, skin color, and the five senses appear, and some brain cells grow. The pregnant woman also begins to feel the movements of the fetus more frequently during this trimester.
If you want to learn about the period of pregnancy in terms of weeks and months, here is the breakdown:
1-Month 1: Week 1 – Week 4
2-Month 2: Week 5 – Week 8
3-Month 3: Week 9 – Week 13
4-Month 4: Week 14 – Week 17
5-Month 5: Week 18 – Week 21
6-Month 6: Week 22 – Week 26
7-Month 7: Week 27 – Week 30
8-Month 8: Week 31 – Week 35
9-Month 9: Week 36 – Week 40
One of the important things to consider during pregnancy is the diet system, in order to ensure the health of both the fetus and the pregnant woman.