By the 37th week of pregnancy, a baby is considered to be full term, and its organs are developed enough to function on their own
Being pregnant is one of the most beautiful, satisfying, yet complex experience a woman can have. Besides this feeling, pregnancy also brings with it a bit of surprise and anxiety in the would-be-mother, especially if it is her first time. However, once she gets through this initial surprise, she starts thinking and planning about her and the baby's health. But for her to be able to make accurate plans, she must first figure out where she stands with respect to the gestational timeline.
Trying to figure out how many weeks pregnant you are, can be a bit tricky. Although, there are different ways to determine this, like pregnancy calculator, due date calculator, pregnancy calendar, etc., the most reliable and well proven way is to know the date of your last menstrual cycle, and to keep a track of your ovulation schedule. So, without any delay let us try to understand how these factors help in calculating your pregnancy age.
Calculating Your Pregnancy Age
The two most common and authentic methods used to calculate the gestational age of the fetus are explained below:
Last Menstrual Cycle
One of the oldest and well proven method is to track your menstrual cycle. Generally, most women do not know the actual date of conception, but they do remember the date of their last menstruation period (LMP). Therefore, the gestation age of your pregnancy starts with the first day of your last menstrual cycle. Although, at this time you are not pregnant, it is included in the total of 40 weeks, that a woman needs to complete before delivering the baby. Hence, in your first appointment, the doctor will surely ask you about the date of your last period, in order to calculate your due date.
Day of Ovulation
The other method to determine a pregnancy's progression is to start counting from the day of conception or day of ovulation. This method uses the fetal age, which is one of the most accurate way to determine the pregnancy's age. Generally, women who want to conceive, keep a track of their ovulation schedule, and can tell when they ovulate; while others refer to the date that their doctor gave them, by analyzing their ultrasound and other test results. However, to count from your ovulation date, you start counting from two weeks after your last menstrual cycle. Hence, when it has been 3 weeks since your LMP, you will count it as your first week of pregnancy. Likewise, when you end the first trimester of pregnancy, you will be 10 weeks pregnant instead of 12 weeks, and your due date will not be on week 40 but on week 38.
No matter which method you use to calculate your pregnancy age, it accounts to the same week with due dates that may vary by two or three days. It is necessary for a woman to know both the methods, because if the doctor tells you that you are 10 weeks pregnant, but you have no idea regarding which method he is using, it is difficult to say whether you are at the end of the first trimester or if you still have a couple weeks to go. Also, there can be chances of you mis-estimating the due date by complete 2 weeks if you initially use one method and later use the other. Therefore, it is essential for an expecting mother to know both these methods to have a clear and accurate idea of the age of her pregnancy.
Disclaimer: This HerHaleness article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.